Broken Homes: Abandoned, Forgotten

Sights I passed in the night

by Brick layer on March 30, 2010
by Brick layer on March 30, 2010

A Sad State of Affairs

Driving through the dark of night


Passing abandoned and weathered buildings

Long ago forsaken


For loftier goals or

Shameful departure

Windows broken, shattered

As, perhaps, the lives who once called these sad structures


Forlorn, empty, alone

Exposed for all who pass to stare

At failure, a loss of hope

Standing against the wind

Baked by midday sun

Buffeted by dusty devils

And passing automobiles.

We glance, and look again

As ‘there but for fortune’ thoughts

Spring to the forefront of our consciousness

Windows gaze back in mute acceptance

Doors ajar, once welcoming friend and family

Wild growth spreads along walkways and stair steps

Where once, children skipped.

Puppies yipped, kittens slept.

Desert house


Awaiting the return of familiar faces

Friendly voices

Excited chirping of happiness

As visitors approach and dwellers await.


Another day is about to begin

Another chance at a new beginning

Where Hope springs eternal

Perhaps today…..

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Comments 38 comments

iamsergell profile image

iamsergell 5 years ago from Darwin, Australia

Nice! Intense feelings felt here. :D

Voted up and beautiful!

A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

Haunting. I have these same thoughts sometimes when I drive throught the country and see abandoned houses. I always hear the echo's of past lives, sometimes laughter, sometimes activity.

I remember when I was younger, and my dad bought a trailer from somebody in the country. Inside of it were some old pictures from the previous occupants. He told me to throw the boxes away, but before I did I looked at all the images. I could sense the emotions seeping out of the polaroids. Kids, adults, activites. Life captured on film.

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

You can see and feel the past. It's a wonderful but at times melancholy gift, like this poem. Good to see you back Lucky.

JY3502 profile image

JY3502 5 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

Very beautiful Cats. I could feel it as though I was there. Thank you.

annmackiemiller profile image

annmackiemiller 5 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

wonderful - voted up and stuff

Reprieve26 profile image

Reprieve26 5 years ago from Oregon Coast

Beautiful poem-- well done! :)

I, too, have passed abandoned houses like this during long road trips across the county. They really do make you think-- who lived there, why did they leave, where did they go? Your poem expressed all of these thoughts and more.

Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hello iamsergell!

Augustine, Alastar, JY, Annie and Reprieve. Thank you so much for visiting this small poem. As we drove across the desert, I was, as always, struck with the sorrowful sight of so many abandoned houses and homes, businesses and more. I know, in today's economy, many people are experiencing the same thing as might be the case so many years ago with the many empty houses I pass each time I trek across the country...thank you for visiting, commenting and continuing to follow my efforts here on fabulous Hub Pages. I wrote this one as Al drove .... I took many pictures, too...just trying to pick and choose which to add to this hub. I thought of calling it "broken homes.' A kind of play on words but..didn't...what do you think? I can always change it.

It is melancholy and depressing...but, so is the reality we are often faced with. As always, "there but for fortune" (along with the Serenity Prayer) help to soften the sharp edges of forsaken dreams.

Much regards and respect!! Kathy

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain

What a wonderful person you must be. It just shines through this hub.

love and peace,


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

Very beautiful, I love to look at old houses and wonder about the family who lived there. Thank you. Enjoyed. Good to see you back.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Dear Lucky Cats,

As I read your sad, evocative tale of abandonment, I thought of the homeless critters. As I read, I thought about how hope springs eternal in their big loving hearts as they continue to wait, wagging their tails, never giving up.

The Joplin tornado has left a huge number of pets alone. The Humane Society in St. Louis, MO is working to place them in loving homes. The critters are being vaccinated, treated for any injuries, micro-chipped and neutered, if they weren't already. New caregivers will not have to pay the usual fee to adopt. I think this is a great gift to the animals and those that can now use this opportunity to share their lives with a pet.

Your piece is gorgeous and sad, but reminded me that there is always hope. Love you, Kathy

Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Dim, what a nice comment you've made and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for it. Always...I think we've all wondered 'who, what, where, why?' when we see these forlorn places. Someone, sometime, called it home; somewhere, someone rested their head at the end of the day in these empty places. Thank you both for visiting.

If I don't hear from you soon...I will check your site to see how you are and how your dear mother is feeling.

Everytime I hear of a tragedy of weather; tornado, flood, fire, extreme circumstances; I wonder about the animals left behind. My dearest friend, Doll (real name and it fits), is always in the forefront of animal rescue ... Katrina, and others...she sees it all...very hard to take but hers is a lifetime mission and she never falters or fails.

Much love, Kathy

AMY! 1st!!! How is your mother doing? How are you doing? Are you holding up ok? In my rush to publish this piece and make a few acknowledgements of visitors here, I have yet to visit and learn of your well being? Is all ok? PLEASE....let me know..

I wrote this piece while we were driving, nonstop, through the desert...I always see these places and, as we all have done; wonder what happened to cause the fleeing of home and hearth. I could never live in such an environment; so harsh and uninviting but, someone did...and then...didn't.

Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

I don't know how this happened but, my comment has been 'rearranged' somehow...Amy...the second parts were written first...and the followup...if I don't hear from you about your mother and you.....was written last...?????

Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Dear Kathy,

My mom has not yet heard from the surgeon. She is waiting for him to review the tests (9-pages and video) and then call her in for an appt. So, everything is still up in the air. She looks better to me than right after the procedure. Her coloring was completely gone afterwards and she got breathless just talking. She has at least recovered from that. I'll be glad when this appt takes place, because one of the things that keeps me on edge is the possibility of sudden death. It seems ironic that before she had the procedure for diagnosis, the doctor told her "at her age, she didn't HAVE to do anything. One night she would wake up, her heart would be racing, and she would die". She lives alone and likes it that way, but, Kathy, I worry everyday. I'll keep you posted, my friend. Thank you for caring.

I think those same thoughts when I go by a forlorn building, knowing in the past, it was alive with life. Time changes everything. This is a gorgeous piece that is relatable on some level with everyone. Very soulful, Kathy, just like you.

Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Amy, I'm not sure how to consider the Dr.'s words " her age..her heart would be racing..and she would die." Seems odd...I don't agree w/anything that begins with "at her (your) age..." Seems pretty limiting and cold...The procedure was bound to be traumatic no matter WHAT age..and her recovery will take a little more time due to her age is all worth it because her life is saved. Her independence makes it more difficult for you, I mother was the same way...(long story w/an ending that bears telling at some time).

I wish the physician would schedule her immediately so that you could discern her present physical condition and response/reaction to her surgery. I would think there would be fairly close follow up dates and ongoing, too.

Very very scary. Just think of the best possible scenario and outcome and keep your faith..I believe all will be well in time.

This life, sometimes! Very difficult to deal with. But, as the saying goes, 'we're never given more than we can handle.' (sometimes, I wonder, though..!!!)

Take good care and do keep all of your hp loving friends updated...Kathy

profile image

shygirl2 5 years ago

Just beautiful...I could actually feel for the house in the picture. I could still see potential there...if someone really wanted to fix it up. You might have to start all over, but the idea is there and the feeling. : )Voted up and awesome!

Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you shygirl2! I really am always so moved by the sad appearance of these stuctures as I pass in the night...and daylight hours. So glad you visited & thank you for the votes, too!! kathy

Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

So good to hear from you Kathy, this is an amazing write, I figured that you were doing what you do best while driving-writing! Oh, and taking care of kitties!

Hope you are both well and kitties are surviving the trip ok, Rated up and awesome! Just like you!

All my best!

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Kathy in my opinion the title you have now is stark as befits your subject and is your first impression. On the other hand the poem is sweeping in it's intensity and sadness. So yes, it could have a another tighter, catchier title. Either way the poem will stand on it's own fine merits.

Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Hi Kathy,

It is so great to see you. It is a wonder "what used to be" in these abandoned homes. Occasionally, I drive past a big old house where my great aunt and second cousins used to live. It's sad. No one lives there and it is falling apart. The memories, though, are precious and still bring it to life for me. Take care,


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Kathy...well, I have to say that being back in California, if only for a few weeks...was so unbelievably refreshing, relaxing and "ahhhh" inspiring. I love my home and my neighbors and the beauty and intelligence of the area. I can't wait until I have all my babies and my remaining things back in one Napa, Ca. I've been back here less than a week and already, I'm more than ready to's 100 degrees at midnight w/lows in the 85 and sticky...hate it!! I'll keep/be in touch w/you throughout...have to get together when I'm finally home!

Alastar..I agree with you..I thought "broken homes" would be something of a double entente...a play on words but, as you said, my first impression is the one I went with and it does fit the bleak picture presented. Much much appreciation, always, for your opinion and honesty.

Sharyn. I'm so sad to hear that your childhood memory is sitting empty and in a state of entropy. This economy is killing our history, our beautiful artifacts and our spirit. Very sad..but you've kept a postitve outlook and recall so..for that, I am thankful and happy. I have seen so many homes here where I am leaving..abandoned as they stand for months..years .. for sale but no takers. some parts of this country are really feeling the brunt of this continual downturn. Always appreciate seeing that you've taken the time to visit my efforts here..much appreciation and respect! Kathy

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


Catching up after a weekend of grading! I can tell my pal has been a "gal on the road"! I found this to be hauntingly beautiful. I have missed your writing, dear friend.

Is it presumptious to suggest a combination title? I truly like them both and think they lend to the piece.

Broken Homes: Abandoned, Forgotten (just a thought)

Anyway, voted UP & AB. Welcome back and keeping Amy/ Mom in my prayers, mar.

Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Marie...on second thought..I think you're right ...the two phrases together work to complete the entire picture. A veryvery good thought!

So glad that you're here visiting my poem and so glad you're my friend, Marie. A true friend. Thank you!!!

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Love this title, Kathy! It fits perfectly and does this wonderful piece justice.

Have a Happy 4th-- thinking of you, mar!

Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Back at ya' Marie....Much love and a happy 4th!

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Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Oh this was such a thoughtful hub..I would love to link to one of mine about an old house if I may..I loved this so..Old abandoned houses..if only they could talk..

God Bless,


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Sunnie...of course you are welcome to use this as you wish. I am very honored!!! Thank you and, thank you lots for the saga of Dusty and Amy!

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Sunnie Day 5 years ago

lol you are so so welcome..Go AMY AND DUSTY!!!!! and thank you too..

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

So beautiful Lucky Cats, as always said in your own natural style !! Thank you so much.

Take care


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you so much, Eiddwen....I so appreciate your visit and your kind words. From one who loves your work...I am truly complimented!~

Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Lucky Cats, it's nice to meet you and read your lovely hub, everything about empty, abandoned homes is so beautifully captured in your words, I felt I saw them with you, thank you.

Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Movie Master! I'm so pleased that you took the time to visit this poem and comment so nicely. Always happy when someone else relates to my efforts. Thank you so much!

Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hello again, Movie Master...I don't know what happened but, my entire comment vanished and the very abbreviated version appeared (above). What I wanted to share with you is the mysterious nature of these abandoned places; so bleak, and I wonder, why, how did the former residents just walk away? What is their story? Where are they now? some of the buildings look as if this occured just recently; others, it is obvious, have been standing empty a very long time. Always a curiosity...and I wonder. thank you for taking the time to visit and comment.

vietnamvet68 profile image

vietnamvet68 5 years ago from New York State

I always take my camera where ever I go and I love to take pictures of all the old abandoned houses along the way, there are so many beautiful old places going to waste anymore. Beautiful write Kathy.Voted UP and Awesome

God Bless

Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi know, I share your appreciation for all those beautiful abandoned houses..they hold such secrets. I travel back and forth quite a lot, these days, and see so much of it...broken and falling into entropy..and I am always flooded with feelings and questions about who? why? Thank you for the visit and your sensitivity to such things.

Teylina profile image

Teylina 5 years ago

Oh, Kathy, I love this! Hope should always spring eternal, and this is a great reminder! Most of us here are in much better position to keep our hope eternal, so we have no excuses, girlfriend! Awesome prose! Thank you! Your pics always carry your whole story; I've got to get another one, even if I'll never get to your level of use!

Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Dear Teylina..of all those who write here, I know you would relate to this because of the whimsical, mysterious, unrequited nature of such experiences...and traveling, wild women such as ourselves appreciate the 'off the beaten path' emotional experiences...when it comes to writing, Teylina, your epic streams of consciousness and observation are unparalleled ... an EXCELLENT writer, Teylina. thank you for this nice comment and visit and we shall keep in touch...could you imagine Sunnie, Ruby, you, me, martie, Eiddwen, and so many more having drinks...and drinks (might add a few of the men, too...I could name ....well...)...and just having a GOOD TIME!!

Teylina profile image

Teylina 5 years ago

Kathy, you give me too much credit. Right now, those last few lines sound like heaven--esp if you wanna add some of the guys! And, guess what, I'm finally getting ready to move (have been, unfortunately, for about a year--weird circumstances--living w/my daughter). Thinking seriously of heading back down south but to a fairly deserted area of swamp and backcountry. Could probably find a place I could afford w/o extra work; asked my 9 and 6-yr-old grandsons the other day about my moving on--they are too well aware of the gypsy in my soul. So, I said, "so have I been around enough so I can go back to Florida, and you can come visit me there and we can go fishing and swimming-- or do you think I should hang around here another year or two?" Immed from the 6-yr-old who first informed me on my moving in that he liked my old apartment and "you really need to get your own place, Mama T" (just about 5) comes this: "I think you oughta hang around here for just maybe another year or two until I get in the third grade!" Glad he's decided he likes me after all, but not sure I can make it that long--your move has my feet itchin'! However, I do make trips west!

Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Teylina...I remember the first hub of yours I read...and it was about moving in w/your daughter and all the "everything" that move do, have a wanderlust spirit...I recognize it! Your grandchildren sound so darling and wonderful and, just think, they have you as their grandmama and all the colorful and fantastic fun your life represents. Stuff of fantasy for young ones. Love the idea of the "back country." I've, in a way, done that here in SE Kansas (just returned on Sat. for another month or so..have some serious 'buyers' looking at my house. Yikes! Hopefully, if they make a legitimate offer; (and they've made an appt. to come back tomorrow (Wed.)...I'll take it and run! Run back to Ca. Go West, young (well....not so..) woman!!

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