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House of Air

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Poem Activity

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Think about the mystery at the centre of this poem. What do you think might have happened to House number sixty six? Try reading the poem aloud in a way that highlights the atmosphere of mystery and suspense in the poem. How can you use your voice to sound mysterious? Are there parts that are best said in a quieter voice or a louder voice? Faster or slower? Try different tones of voice that show how the speaker might be feeling.

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a letter was sent
but no one was there
no one at home
in the house of air

no window no frame
no number no door
between sixty eight
and sixty four

just a pit prop joist
wedged there to shore
two end walls peeling
patchwork squares

paint patterns plaster
layers on layers
unpicked by rain
and roots and years

like generations
a stray cat stirs
in the deep pile carpet
of rubble and briars

it’s one big room
just follow the stairs
zig zag to the sky
through invisible floors

a fireplace smoulders
green then flares
mauve buddleia
the postman stares

number sixty six
strange it was there
this time yesterday
he could swear

House of Air

by Philip Gross