I Knew a House Once

I knew a house once had an apple room -
Dark wine-scented - and the wrinkled fruit
Spread on the wooden bars, tasted like honey
In the twilit mystery of the apple room.

I knew a house once had a tall cupboard;
Precious things lay in it, ruby ribbons -
Armless kewpies, postcards with jewel-stamps
All waiting rediscovery in the tall cupboard.

I knew a house once had the scent of morning;
Wood smoke and toasting bread and wet roses -
Sun on cherry plums and sandy strawberries
And stiff lavender sheets in the smell of morning.

I knew a house once had the sounds of home -
Ululating magpies in a gully and particular voices -
Squeak of pine-needles under trees
tall as a splendid grandfather
Spoons beating in a bowl for the sounds of home.

I knew a house once had the world in it.
People and birds and scent and sound and a happy child
Could it be found again - or made - an apple room,
A tall cupboard, a child's promise of morning,
All that gentle world.

Norah Boehme