The Patriots' House
© 2004 by Ellin Anderson


Ellin Anderson

They made their presence known,
They made their anger plain —
A crash like April cannons,
A sigh like April rain

Within the chimney — or the sweep
Of satin down a stair —
Sad voices heard through troubled sleep;
The scent of powdered hair

Inside a closet — or a brush
With one long in the ground,
Yet on the landing — pregnant hush
More shattering than sound.

Why did they pace the corridor?
What did they think was wrong?
That children should be cherished — or
That nations should be strong?

Was it our change of seasons —
Our fight to save the day,
For complicated reasons
In jungles far away?

Or did some human blunder,
Some travesty of life,
Make Master William thunder,
Make Mistress Poll, his wife,

Raise clouds of crackling static
And make the floorboards creak
With footsteps in the attic,
Where every beam was bleak?

We're not immune to changes,
The living — and the dead;
When fortune rearranges
The cards, and says, “Instead — ”

And we fulfill the promise
That promised love and peace
For people well in reach of bliss,
The living can release

The dead from contemplation
Of failings in the blessed;
The ghosts who built a nation
Remembered — and at rest.


© 2004 by Ellin Anderson. All rights reserved. No part of  this work may be copied or used in any way without written  permission from the author.


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Ellin Anderson's Biography