I recently did a post featuring the beautiful Cottage Home neighborhood on the Indianapolis' near eastside. I received many responses from some of the residents within the neighborhood with all kinds of interesting and informative feedback, including a poem.
The picture above features a marker with a poem by Thomas Orr:
In the old neighborhood my friend is dreaming of houses,
Of what they were and what they could become again,
Their mute architecture silenced by a century of decay,
Full of stories aching to be told. On a warm summer night
Near Polk and Dorman, we climb a ladder of shadows, laughing
At a splash of moonlight through the roof, and he is saying
"Here, over here, the cornice needs some help," and suddenly
I recall another story of this house, of Emma Rae, whom I knew
In her distress. That summer, her children and their children,
The hapless followed by the helpless, ate everything she had,
And the old man, who left his leg at the Battle of Verdun,
Lay moaning on a cot in the living room, attacked by flies.
Relief arrived, but not a rescue. Say that Emma Rae endured.
Say humility made her smile. Always. It is enough. And let
The architecture sing, my friend, restore the voice, but leave
The moonlit hole in the roof, that prayers might rise for Emma Rae.
THOMAS ALAN ORR
Reprinted from Hammers in the Fog (Restoration Press, 1995). Copyright 1995 by Thomas Alan Orr. Used by permission. Reproduction in any form is strictly prohibited without express written consent. For more information, please contact Restoration Press, 1035 Hosbrook Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46203 USA.
My thanks to Tim Harmon and Thomas Alan Orr for providing me with the poem to make this post possible.