Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE GIRL, by SCUDDER MIDDLETON

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE GIRL, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: That house in which you lived was not you home
Last Line: A child no longer.
Subject(s): Child Care; Children; Growth; Baby Sitters; Governesses; Childhood


That house in which you lived was not your home,
For home's a place where there are faith and love.
Two poor tragedians stalked along those halls,
Betrayed by passion and denied by hope.
They hated you whose beauty brought to mind
The early magic of their common life.
But in your own wise heart you made a home
Where you put secret things like hills and heaven.
You had the independence of the rose,
The bravery of sunlight on the grave.


Often you came to the room of many books.
There, upon the floor, under the open window,
You would sit, a young Athena --
The dreams and wisdom of the world around you.
As you read,
The wind, blowing across the honeysuckle,
Played with a ruffle on your dress.
Then you never heard the laughter of the boys
On their way to Tanner's Pool.
Nor the gossip of the trees in the garden.
You had climbed the slender ladders
That lean against the clouds,
You were running in the meadows of the sky.


With mottled stones and shoots of yellow willow
You built an altar by the stream
Back of the great white house.
You who were friendly with the flowers
And understood the ways of stars and birds,
Made with your own hands
A thing of beauty.

There you went when the story ended;
When the sun crept under the hill;
When the people of the house were cruel.

You took the violets that grew along the fence
And twined a garland for your secret temple.


She was a mother to your hidden self --
A wistful wrinkled woman who kept young
By watching you and listening to your talk.
How she loved you!
You were the light that made the journey sure.

You never knew the pain beneath her smile
That day you brought the nest of robins home.
"Little children of the birds" -- you called them.
You wondered why she turned and walked away.


The seed is carried by desolate winds
Blowing down from the autumn night,
While the trees bend close and mutter
Like tired wives confiding
The terrible truths of birth.


Once when the snow covered the garden,
You heard a voice that called your name
Over and over,
Mixed with the sound of the world outside.

Then you left the fire in the grate,
The story-book and the water-color beads.
In your room alone,
You hid your face in the pillow.
You could not stop those tears that burned your eyes,
Those sobs that shook the bed.

Outside the storm ended.
The sun came and the snow on the roof melted:
The falling drops made a music on the walk below.
A blue-bird paused on the garden tree.

When they found you later,
You were fast asleep --
A child no longer.

Discover our poem explanations - click here!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net