The House of Waiting

It’s all dust and old newspapers and books and notebooks
Big folio registers and diaries and files
And outdoor clothes gathering dust in heaps
Never disturbed in years now
Boxes made of steel sheets
In all shapes and sizes full of old issues of magazines
Bedspreads and blankets and quilts no longer in use
It’s not a dead house but a dying one
There are smells lurking in its corners
Some dank some sunshiney full of motes
In the air caught in beams of light
From the wide old windows
It’s a shabby tired house , much suited
To slow decay , but proliferating in Calendars
Showing this month this day today
And clocks showing this hour this minute
With a little variation from the bedroom to the kitchen
From the hall to the prayer room
Food is cooked though , mostly fresh
And there is water and tea and curd and fruit
And sherbets . It waits cheerfully enough
For death and the final disintegration
It may look sad but it is not afraid .
There are flowerless flowerpots by the front door .
Few visit but those who do , do not starve
They go with bellies full .
The House of Waiting is absent- mindedly
Sprawlingly , lazily , impersonally kind .

( Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia )

10 thoughts on “The House of Waiting

  1. Madhumathy

    Contemporary realites powerfully etched take us to the haphazard ways in which we lead our lack luster days in these difficult times .

    Reply
  2. Bilquis Fatima

    So redolent of homes which breathed of life but slowly as the number of habitants dwindled and the owner ages dusty shelves and empty pots remain as remnants of the past glory.

    Reply
    1. amitapaul Post author

      Thank you Bilquis Fatima for describing in your own beautiful words what the poem has conveyed to you and what is its spirit and reality

      Reply
  3. Swati A Gadgil

    ….outdoor clothes gathering dust in heaps
    Never disturbed in years now….
    This poem describes the standstill set over the house but some liveliness in the kitchen …. And endless wait for the final verdict …. The calendar and clock doing their job perfect…

    Reply
    1. amitapaul Post author

      Thank you Swati Gadgil for describing your understanding of the poem
      Of course you would notice that the eccentric clocks in the house of waiting do not all show the same time

      Reply
  4. suzette portes san jose

    AS IT IS SAID A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME WHEN THERE IS NO ONE SITTING THERE,,,WAITING AND WANTING TO FILL A DAY WITH HOURS OF LIFE…

    Reply
  5. amitapaul Post author

    Thank you for the interesting comment , Suzette Portes San Jose
    The house is clearly not empty with all that cooking going on , and though it is waiting for the for the end it is sturdily cheerful

    Reply

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