The Cottage

The Cottage

A Poem by Keith

The story of our cottage in the bush.


--Purchased 2004--

In an Estate Agent's Window
A quaint cottage caught my eye,
I felt its call right then I knew
I could not pass it by.
Needing hard work love and care,
A bargain it would seem.
Nestled among the gum trees
A renovators Dream.

It seemed that nature had reclaimed
Every inch of garden space,
As though the forest hugged that house
And held it in its place.
To the door up rickety steps
You’d think about your chances,
Holes there in veranda's floor
The handrail made of branches.

The front door creaked as it swung wide
A sweet but musty smell.
It took me back to childhood days
Now under the cottages spell.
What treasures on the inside wait?
There was so much to explore,
Just as the owners left it
Some twenty years before.

 From bits and pieces firmly built
Each a second handed prize
Every beam and wooden stilt
Each window a different size.
The doors were from a hospital,
Each one still bore a sign
Beside the knob the bathroom door
Still reads Six Beds Ward Nine.

Old gas lamps on every wall
No power was connected
Taken by its beauty and charm
Much more than I expected.
The  kitchen table made of wood
Each dent and scratch a story,
Six unpainted wooden chairs
Far from their former glory.

A whitewashed kitchen cupboard
Colored lead-light in the door,
Full of wondrous old wares.
Such temptation to explore.
Marys statue sitting  on top
Shes watching what I do,
Does she know I own it now,
Or would she have a clue?

My anticipation rising as
I carefully pull the handle
Right in front with old matches
Of course I lit the candle.
There sat a row of children's books,
A Mecano set complete,
A fountain pen with two spare nibs,
A babys bottle with its teat.

 Cups on hooks and many plates
A set it’s certainly not
Hand beaters and an earthen Jug
An old fry pan and iron pot
Knifes and forks all bent and worn
Clustered in the drawer below.
A brooch, cuff links and old tie pin
For someone dressed to go.

The lino on the floor so thin
Old newsprint showing through.
A brand new Chev Two Fifty quid
Back in nineteen fifty two.
We had so much work to do
Every single treasure packed
All were placed in cardboard boxes
Then to the shed and stacked.

Each weekend for next three years
We worked to modernize.
We polished up that wooden floor
Now on show before your eyes.
The timber beams were sanded back
To reveal their natural grain
Ceiling boards were all replaced
Finished off with timber stain.

So proud we were of what we did
It came up as just a treat.
Now a gorgeous little home
Looking prim and very neat.
With the renovation finished
Using money that was lent
In order to appease the bank
We let it out to rent.

But nature unleashed her fury
A bushfire had its way.
Infamous in our history
The name Black Saturday
A tragedy like none before
The day Victoria cried.
Two thousand homes were burned that day
One hundred and seventy died.

Heartbroken now our cottage gone
But indeed our loss was small
Great sadness spread across the state
Deep sorrow felt by all.
Proudly sits a replacement house
Worth way more when we sell.
But in my heart I miss that cottage
Much more than I can tell.

--2007 Renovations under way--

--2008 same angle finished--

--2008 finished ready to rent--

--2008 the baltic pine flooring gleaming--

--7th Feb 2009, nothing left--
'Black Saturday'
2000 homes burned, 173 lives lost.

--Saturday 14th September 2013 
We received the keys to the replacement building--
Every tree now gone no longer a bush block,
now a paddock.

-- The Black Saturday Story--

© 2013 Keith

Author's Note

We spent 3 years renovating it, but then lost it during the February 7 2009 'Black Saturday' bushfires in Victoria. We just received the keys to the new replacement house last week.


My Review

Would you like to review this Poem?
Login | Register

Featured Review

Normally, a lengthy poem such as this would repel me from reading til the end. But this held me captive and I enjoyed the detailed descriptions and interesting narrations. Every line served its purpose. And grief had me as well when such a lovely cottage was devoured by bush fire. Such a tragedy. And I know it must be heartbreaking since you renovated it for three years and it all ended up in ashes in a blink of an eye. The rhyme scheme is exceptional and the rhythm was great, too. Truly a masterpiece. :x

Posted 4 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dr. Wood ?

4 Years Ago

Yup and yup

4 Years Ago

man, that harder than writing poems.
Dr. Wood ?

4 Years Ago

I do both at the same time....Nah..just joshing


A fascinating tale and enchantingly told. Such a shame that you lost the cottage, but at least the good memories remain. The before and after photographs add immensely to the poem.


Posted 3 Years Ago

Beautifully written Keith. I always enjoy your style, and ability to truly grab my attention and never let go.

Posted 4 Years Ago

Good description. I feel as though I am standing next to you surveying the scene of the cabin.

The photography is quite nice too.

Posted 4 Years Ago

I've never read a poem in homage to a cottage, but hence this caught my attention and I was drawn to its imagery. I could see what you were describing in my mind and the emotions of your experience. Very nice poem and I look forward to reading more from you.

Posted 4 Years Ago

Oh how sad. It may sound weird but an old building like that - that you pour part of yourself into - its almost like losing something alive. It truly becomes a part of you and this poem speaks so well to that.

Posted 4 Years Ago


4 Years Ago

Ah yes, that cottage lived and breathed for us. I loved every dent and old nail hole in those 100 y.. read more
[send message][befriend] Subscribe
how very heartbreaking, it looked perfect..your poem is wonderfully done x

Posted 4 Years Ago


4 Years Ago

Thank you for dropping in Louise, your kind words are much appreciated.
Wow. I cry for having myself experienced the loss of a home to fire. This is a wonderful commemorative piece.

Posted 4 Years Ago


4 Years Ago

Thank you Melo, yes only those who have been through it can know. On this occasion it was not the f.. read more

4 Years Ago

Yes, the most thoughtful gifts were of things such as towels, shampoo, and deodorant. Xo.
This was so great and the pictures were so cool!

Posted 4 Years Ago


4 Years Ago

Thank you for calling in and leaving your kind words Rosaria.
Wow! Firstly I loved every line of this poem,I can't get enough of great rhyme.Secondly I'm so sorry for the devastating loss due to the fire! It looks great now so well done on the restoration and well done for the great poem that it spawned!

Posted 4 Years Ago


4 Years Ago

Thank you again Amanda, I am flattered indeed by your kind words.
This was a grand tale, the story of the little cottage was compelling. You have so many elements here that you force the reader to continue on. The "Black Saturday" references were gut wrenching, sorry to learn of so many losses. You have immortalized that event in a sincerely amazing way, truly touching piece.

Posted 4 Years Ago


4 Years Ago

Thank you for that wonderful review PH. Our story was one of just a bad dose of nostalgia compared .. read more
Travis Gibson (poetic heroics)

4 Years Ago

You preserved the story well.

First Page first
Previous Page prev
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


38 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on September 19, 2013
Last Updated on September 20, 2013
Tags: cottage, bushfire, black saturday, bush



Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

I grew up on a diet of Australian bush poetry. Now a business consultant, I spend far too much time on aeroplanes and in hotels, I use this time to write. I like to tell stories and have fun. If y.. more..


Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..

Ragnarok Ragnarok

A Chapter by TL Boehm

Scumbag Scumbag

A Poem by s y e