Subscribe to The Horn Book

On the Cover: Houses

jf02My father’s house was made of sky.
His bookcases stood twelve feet high.
The snowy owl my father tamed,
the stones he showed me, stars he named,
agate, quartz, the Milky Way—
“It’s good to know their names,” he’d say,
“so when I’m gone and you are grown,
in any world you’ll feel at home.”

My mother’s house was made of talk,
words that could rouse a flea to fight
or make a stone stand up and walk.
Words filled the kitchen day and night.
Grandpa knew all the Psalms by heart.
My mother’s sisters knew the art
of telling tales, and lies so new
all those who heard them called them true.

My house is quieter than theirs.
My promises are frail as foam.
I still forget to say my prayers.
Between the lines I plucked this poem.
Look up. To the discerning eye,
my house stands open to the sky.

–Nancy Willard

The four houses on the cover are made of fused glass. Two of them appear in Willard’s The Magic Cornfield (Harcourt). From the January/February 2002 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.



Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind