Home: The Universe

by Emily Strauss

after Gretel Ehrlich

A house is a cup of space, a transformation from random
nature to social order, barricading us from our feelings
with an armor of unforgiving material which holds no
warmth, an inflexible casing made from skeletal remains— 

wood and stone—
a path that crosses itself. 

A house should be a membrane that breaks down
the dichotomy between inside and out, form and function
a platform on which transactions between nature
and culture occur, not a defense against nature
but a way of letting it in.

Building a house is designing a form of imperfection
dictated by the randomness of space, bent into shape
by topography and wind, captured within walls
which are a form of discipline, an obstruction
that liberates space by giving it substance.

Inside a house is security and a barrier against
the plurality of ourselves, our location on the planet
our reading of the landscape, our place to make love
on the floor of the world, protected from the wind
but exposed to our own natures.

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry. Over 100 of her poems appear in dozens of online venues and in anthologies. The natural world is generally her framework; she often focuses on the tension between nature and humanity, using concrete images to illuminate the loss of meaning between them. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California.


Wonderful. Thought provoking. Makes you go back and read again.
Sujatha Warrier, Oct 11, 2014
Very inspiring, great!
Cynthia Low, May 17, 2014 emeraldcypress.com