Scenic Route

For Lucy, who called them "ghost houses."

Someone was always leaving

and never coming back.

The wooden houses wait like old wives The juxtaposition of old wives to these abandoned homes gives light and a special humanity to these inanimate objects. Andrew De Haan, Age 22

along this road; they are everywhere,

abandoned, leaning, turning gray. 

Someone always traded

the lonely beauty

I like how "traded" was used instead of just "leaving." Manna Smith, age 14

of hemlock and stony lakeshore

for survival, packed up his life

and drove off to the city.

In the yards the apple trees

keep hanging on, but the fruit

grows smaller year by year.

The lonely image of the apple tree is vivid, showing the slow deterioration of these abandoned lots, the fruit shrinking as if a response to no one needing it anymore. Kara Madden, age 22

When we come this way again

This stanza so breathtakingly depicts how nature will reclaim the land and absorb these empty houses. The use of the future tense shows the past—they've come here again and again and plan to return.

the trees will have gone wild,
the houses collapsed, not even
the human act of breaking in.

Fields will have taken over. 

What we will recognize

is the wind, the same fierce wind,

which has no history.

This poem began with the absence of people returning home, and it ended with the absence of a history. Patty Schlutt, age 14
I love this image of nature reclaiming the land after humans have used it and left it. It’s as if she’s saying the earth does not change, it will always recover from our use of it. Kara Madden, age 22
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.