Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate.

This week’s favorite entry from a past column comes from Amy Chapman of Greenwood, who writes that Patricia Ranzoni’s poem about an abandoned farmhouse brings her old neighbors back to life. “As long as they are preserved in her words,” Chapman says. “their sheer white curtains and their everyday lives are still present there.”

The Old Gross Place

By Patricia Ranzoni

Across the road the

old dairy is an apparition.


Not haunted so much as

that it is, itself, a ghost.

When I go for mail, Hazel

is not in the kitchen.

Mary is not upstairs, Tom

not in his chair


by the window. White sheers

are an absence I prom-

ise to remember.

One could watch forever

and never see them again.

Search clean through


those waving old panes

front to back, not a soul

not even a stick of their


to rest wavy eyes

on. Why a neighbor


can look clear through

that thinning house

all the way to heaven.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2000 Patricia Ranzoni. Reprinted from “Settling,” Puckerbrush Press, 2000, by permission of Patricia Ranzoni.

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