Stairway To the Wall

images.jpgAfter the death of William Wirt Winchester, his wife Sarah inherited vast amounts of money including a sizable interest in her deceased husband’s firearms company. She also received a spiritualist warning that as long as the construction on the family palace in San Jose continued, she would escape death, possibly from the ghosts of those killed by Winchester repeating riles.

I first heard of the Winchester House in grade school when a student shared the story about stairways to the ceiling and doors in the walls with no rooms on the other side. Several years later on a family trip to San Francisco we drove past the house but didn’t take the tour. Years after that I saw the house again, standing in the midst of typical suburban sprawl: strip malls, multi-cinemas, car dealerships.

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Without Luggage

Theodore Roethke is undoubtably my favorite poet, especially if you don’t count Milton, Pope, and Keats. Although this is a long-ish poem, it contains the one image that the poet burned into my mind and there is an interesting video at the end.

The Far Field
I
images.jpgI dream of journeys repeatedly:
Of flying like a bat deep into a narrowing tunnel
Of driving alone, without luggage, out a long peninsula,
The road lined with snow-laden second growth,
A fine dry snow ticking the windshield,
Alternate snow and sleet, no on-coming traffic,
And no lights behind, in the blurred side-mirror,
The road changing from glazed tarface to a rubble of stone,
Ending at last in a hopeless sand-rut,
Where the car stalls,
Churning in a snowdrift
Until the headlights darken.

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