What Bides Before the Hearth

Tree house tree

What Bides Before the Hearth

Much of my childhood was spent
In the top of the old elm
Some sixty feet above the ground…
And above the life from which I was hiding…
Its thick green leaves always eager
To hide my small frame
From those who prowled upon the ground…
And to hide my soul
From the creatures lingering in my reality

My days spent in the apogee of the elm
My nights in the crest of the oak
For not even the cries of the cougar
In the night of a full moon
Were more frightening than
What bides before the hearth

I could not rest on chamber berth
Fearful of what dwelled in the darkness…
The shades were pulled to block the night
But creatures stirring outside the walls
Were not the cause of my foreboding

Every closet in the house had its bones
You could hear them moan in the stillness
And rattle as if in the wind
Although the only breeze
That blew behind those closed locked doors
Came from the breath of the living

No one dared wander into the attic
For the cobwebs covered the echoes of secrets
That lay buried between the boards…
Beneath where the bats hang

Sometimes the secrets would
Creep down from the ceiling
Oozing down the wall beneath the paint
Emerging from behind the baseboards
Rising from the nether
In search of the soul of an innocent

I would gladly climb the sixty feet into the air
Within the old elm tree to spend my day…
When nightfall brought the darkness
My audacious smile, lucent in the twilight
Embraced the rugged bark of my salvation…
As I pulled the homemade rope ladder
Into the most desultory of treehouses
Nestled within the cradle of the old oak…
High above those that prowled upon the ground
And the creatures that lingered…
Expecting only the most pleasant of dreams…
To the howl of the cougars


Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved


16 thoughts on “What Bides Before the Hearth

    • Good morning Laine… My inner child always seems to be quite prevalent, but this elderly child wishes he could still literally write from the tops of trees…
      Hope your day is most enlightening…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Audrey Dawn… There were certainly times when I could have thoroughly enjoyed having a friend to share the tree house with. My treehouse and I would have been most honored to have welcomed your company. Sometimes the cougars prowled rather close… a friend would have been most enchanting… Except you probably could have climbed the rope ladder better than I did…
      Hope your day is most beautiful Audrey…


  1. Excellent, Michael! And oh man, how I can relate. The higher the tree the better, disappear into the foliage and for a short time the world went away, or I did. Thanks, tree moving, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning Michael… Wasn’t that ‘no fear’ feeling wonderful, swaying in those upper small branches? You could definitely disappear… trees have always been my friends… glad I brought up a few of your tree memories…
      Hope your day is “tree moving”…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is beautiful. Anything to get out of the way of those secrets. Sounds like you had quite the ‘hiding’, albeit illuminating yet safe space to escape them for a spell. I felt high in the air amid the treetops as i read it.

    Thank you for the gift of poetry. I found you via nikkiskies blog. Stay inspired!


    • Good morning SomerEmpress… Thanks for dropping by… glad you enjoyed it. I guess thanks to Nikki, I have benefited from discovering her site and now yours. While lingering on your site for a while this morning, I found much enlightenment within your words. Plan to spend more time there absorbing…
      I still linger in the tops of trees… without my physicality… perhaps I’ll see you there…
      Hope your day is most beautiful…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you just read my mail with this one!
    Running down the walls is my nightmare I had since a small child! I recently did some dream therapy and oh wait first I have to share the dream!
    I walk up the stairs and my mom is sitting in an old rocking chair! Beside her is a tiny door! I walked over to the door and crouch down because it’s tiny I turn to look at my mom and she’s old very old and tips her head in the direction of the door! When I reached to open the knob was old like brass with a dent and I had to pull with both hands to open it and hot air and dust and pieces of stuff flew out and all over me and I fell! It scared me and I don’t scare ever!
    That was yr 2000! I was one that had no memories of my childhood! None! My brother and sister are my memories even still they only come in spurts but I’ve since went through healing of all this but that nightmare was true! Skeletons from my mother! Enough said! The rest is story and stuff but the abiding thing was learning that it’s okay to be me! The real me! Yay for that! It was worth it all because I was the mom to my girl that I never had! I love that! This poem for me is a sumbolance of great healing! Hope I didn’t share too much! But even so it had to come out somewhere! 😄🎈


    • Oh my goodness… This is so weird Micki… I was scrolling through old posts and found this comment from you from long ago… that… for some reason I had never read. I don’t know how I missed such an interesting and personal story. My childhood… as you can probably tell from my poetry is kind of hit and miss memories… I suppose a mixture of good and bad, yet the bad recollections seem to find their way into my poetry more often than the good. I suppose it is… like you say… a way of healing. If you ever feel as though you are sharing too much here… you know where you can find me to share whatever brings you peace or brings a smile to your face. I love our conversations… Thank you for sharing with me…



      • Me too Michael. I’m so happy you found my note! I think it was just at the perfect time! I like to read your poems when I have time to just see what shows up in them! Thank you for answering and I love our conversations too! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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