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Saying Goodbye to My Mews House: A Poem

I’ve long been of the mind that right before you give something up – a car…a neighborhood…definitely a relationship –...

I’ve long been of the mind that right before you give something up – a car…a neighborhood…definitely a relationship – you allow yourself to be annoyed by that thing.

It’s not that the thing itself has changed in any fundamental way. It’s just that whereas you once focused on the upsides (he’s cute…he’s funny…my mother likes him), you now allow the negatives to creep in (I hate that shirt…please stop chewing like that…kissing you is so boring.) It’s just normal. It’s how we begin to separate before we say goodbye.

In that vein, as I pack up the last bits and bobs around our current house before leaving it permanently on Thursday, I find myself doing precisely that:  allowing myself to hate all the things about this house that I’ve managed to put up with over the past four years.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot to like about this house, which I’ve often described as an exceedingly well-located closet. I wrote a novel here. I started my blog here. And – most important of all – it’s the place that we first moved into when we decided to throw caution to the wind and move our family overseas four years ago. For that reason alone, it will always be special.

And yet, as we stagger towards the finish line, I’m allowing all the negative things I’ve suppressed about the house to come to the fore.

I’m not much of a poet. I usually leave that to the fabulous Communicatrix and her Poetry Thursday series. But as I take my last walk around this house and pick up the errant sock or felt tip (magic marker) cap or MatchAttax card that mysteriously appears – years later – in the obscure corners of our storage space, I find myself moved to wax poetic.

So here it is – my Ode to a Mews House – inspired by that childhood classic, Good Night, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. I’m calling it Goodnight, Mews:

Goodnight Mews

In the tiny, cobble-stoned street

without a sign

there was a house

and for four years, it was mine.

And though I’ll be sad to see it gone

Here are some things for which I won’t long:

Goodnight kitchen tiles, that never quite fit

and were meant for the wall – not the floor – but tough sh*#.

Good night shower curtain, which hangs by a thread

And the sweaters I was forced to keep under my bed.

Good night builders, who knew nothing of plumbing

and Good night, next-door neighbors who hated my son.

Good night, storage closet that eventually hits earth

and was home to the rats who made our house their berth.

Good night, Toilet Seat from which I would fall

And the miniature fridge that stands two feet tall.

Good night shower that always floods when it rains

And goodnight darling landlord, you were really a pain.

Goodnight stars, Goodnight air

Good night Mewses everywhere.


For those who are interested, head on over to to see why I think Gordon Brown will lose this election on Thursday.

Image: Pink Mews by tubb via Flickr under a Creative Commons License

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  1. LPC May 4, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    Aw. Cute. Funny.

  2. BigLittleWolf May 4, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    This brought a smile. I like your approach to saying goodbye. Would that it would work when teens fly the nest – that we could focus on all the irritations so letting them go would be easier.

    Meanwhile, I will hang on to the lesson. It seems like a good plan for so many sorts of goodbyes.

  3. delialloyd May 4, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    yes, harder with kids, I will agree on that. but in general, quite healthy I find. enjoy your day!

  4. Daryl Boylan May 4, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    Ah, poetry. . .Even as a twice-a-year guest, I was too well aware of the mews house’s short- (make that midgetesque)- comings; I also became oddly fond of it. Made me remember my mini-housing in Manhattan shared with roaches instead of rats before I succumbed to the all-American lure of bug-free, wide-open spaces.
    As to the Jackson-Brown contrast, oh dear, oh dear, too right — and I like Mr. Brown, were I Brit I’d vote for him!

  5. kare May 4, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    as someone stranded in London (volcano) who saw the debates … I LOVED your poem… not sure about your prognostication…. another fan

  6. Cecilia May 5, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    (Finally catching up on my reading this week!) I love this Delia! You are so right about needing to acknowledge the irritations in order to say good bye, and I love this poem. Nicely done, and nice way to pack up and move on :-)

  7. Howard Baldwin May 5, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    I find the love/hate relationship with houses fascinating. We were in our first home (a townhouse) for 11 years, and then moved into a single-family dwelling on a much larger lot. It was very similar to the home I had grown up in, and so had a very high comfort level. Now I find those 11 years are a blank — I have very few memories of that townhouse, even though I enjoyed living there.


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