Haunted Houses by H.W. Longfellow

Haunted Houses

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 – 1882)

All houses wherein men have lived and died
  Are haunted houses.  Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
  With feet that make no sound upon the floors. 

We meet them at the doorway, on the stair,
  Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
  A sense of something moving to and fro. 

There are more guests at table, than the hosts
  Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
  As silent as the pictures on the wall. 

The stranger at my fireside cannot see
  The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
  All that has been is visible and clear. 

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
  Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
  And hold in mortmain still their old estates. 

The spirit-world around this world of sense
  Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapors dense
  A vital breath of more ethereal air. 

Our little lives are kept in equipoise
  By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
  And the more noble instinct that aspires. 

These perturbations, this perpetual jar
  Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star,
  An undiscovered planet in our sky. 

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
  Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
  Into the realm of mystery and night,– 

So from the world of spirits there descends
  A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
  Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.

Can you see them? Can you sense their presences? Are they just memories of those who have lived or are they more like impressions left in stone and mortar, plaster and lath board?

Another blog I follow of the more bookish kind did an analysis of Longfellow’s famous poem last year and my comments were: 

I thought this review was thoughtful and expressive. I’d never heard of the poem before The Wife ™ introduced me to it. The narrator, to me, is clairvoyant, among the living but able to see, hear and possibly even converse with those who have passed and still inhabit the home he now lives in.


Nice post insightful and encouraging. Would that we all learned to ‘commune’ with the departed in appreciation and reflection. We would learn much if we could only listen to the past and apply to the present and future what we glean. -KIA

What do you think? 

Is he really speaking of ghosts, Spectral Spirits who inhabit and share our habitations with us? Or is he just reminding us to be mindful and reflective of those who have lived before, yet whose memories and influence never truly leave us even after they’ve passed from this life to the next?

Are they really sitting table with us and attending our fireside chats with family and friends? Or is it just the thought of their presence in Holiday times like these in the Autumn that gives them life and breath again, ifor not for just All Hallows Eve? The focus of Family, Friends and Feasting certainly does seem to “thin the veil” a bit during this time of year, doesn’t it? 

Please tell me what you think in the Comments below and have a wonderful and safe Halloween and All Saints Day. 



Tonight, All Souls Return

No, There are no Ghosts, but we can Welcome the Memories of those loved ones who have passed and allow them to Mingle with us for the night. 

I will be remembering my Family members and best friend who have passed away in the last 6yrs. My grandmother being the most recent just this last February. -KIA

All Souls Return

Tonight ‘All Souls’ return from whence they’ve wandered

to darkened woods and Houses Haunted

there’ll be some here ‘more than invited’

as some have put, round ‘fireplace lighted’


erstwhile occupants of generations past

once again rising as if to gasp

another breath, once more to live

the journey risking the fright they give


but really, truly I beg to say

for them tis not easy to stay away

all year till summer to fall gives way

by changing leaves colors, returns this day.


Today all souls return to their homes

and then again tomorrow once more to roam

the lonely places from whence they’ve come

are you waiting, will you be one?



Poem “November 1837” Emily Bronte

(( Updating 10/29/16  Reposting from last year A Poem to start the Month off rightly. ))

A bit of darkness for All Hallows Eve and a look forward to November

November 1837

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me,
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow;
The storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

-Emily Bronte

Questions for the reader

One reviewer has commented that …

“It has been suggested that the poem describes an incident in which one of their imaginary heroines has to leave her child to die on the mountains in winter. The heroine can neither watch nor leave: she is spellbound by her circumstances.” BBC GCSE Article


This would probably lead me to agree, the author most likely knowing vastly more than I about the sisters’ lives, writing and imaginary world of Gondal.

My Take

But origins and meanings aside for the moment, I found this piece to be hauntingly sad and breathtakingly descriptive of the mind of the woman in the poem, whoever she may be. She seems, in a sense, to feel trapped in the darkness by her own inability/unwillingness to leave for safety. The reason for her reticence or reluctance ( or is it obligation?) is not revealed, but she is definitely aware of the dangers of the darkened woods, or it maybe just be the fear of unknown darkness, and the impending storm approaching. However something holds her there, glued to the scene for some unspoken reason.

Now it’s your turn

  • What do you think of this Poem?
  • Have you read any Emily Bronte?
  • How about the sisters Charlotte and Anne?
  • How would you describe the situation and the feelings of the woman in the woods, knowing approaching storms and darkness but unwilling to move for safety?

Tell me in the Comments below. Thanks for reading The Recovering Know it All. Like, Share and Subscribe if you dare.




Watch “A Super-Cool #amreading Update!” on YouTube

I love this guy!! I don’t know if it’s the ‘off his meds’ humor or that great beanie. 🙂  Believe it or not, the guy actually is very erudite and well read due to his professional reviewing, editing and writing. 

We found him a few months ago thru another bunch of videos on channels called Book Tube who were complaining about his Points of View on books, readers and ‘Some’ YouTube channels that Chronicle their reading habits in interesting ways. 

He’s like my mom was; Opinionated, unafraid and often unfiltered in his views on books and people. Only he’s not over 70 and he actually knows what he’s talking about from a professional, well read POV. Mom only thought she did. Sorry mom 😦

Enjoy the day. we’re going for a Kale Smoothie at Whole Foods. 


Xtian Poetry: Of Labels and Gnats

“Oh no he Di-uhnt!?”

Identity Mine

I say “No, kind sir”. You have no right

to so define and draw my lines

of what I may or may not be

by telling me only by what you see

or letting free with ignorant glee

your cutting words thru smiling teeth.

You cannot know the fullest toll

of all that gathers within my soul

the answers gained by questions asked

the ones you plainly seek to pass

un queried lessons behind un removed masks

no sir, you will not take by force from within your blog

that which rests only with whom it belongs.

I would not have my Identity Hacked by one so wrong…

Only The “Recovering” truly “Knows it All” for himself. So please, refuse the urge to Declare another’s identity FOR him. Respect is allowing others to speak for and define themselves, even if you disagree.



Reblogging “Apologies for telling the Truth?”

From a blog I follow, a wonderful post on religions demanding respect and tolerance where none is deserved, and which they aren’t willing to give others. It highlights the Hypocrisy and the bullying tactics employed against anyone who would dare challenge or question what they consider is True ™ only by Faith. Enjoy the take down. -kia


Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – insisting on apologies for telling the truth

There’s an op-ed by Christine Flowers, a conservative Catholic with a problem. She isn’t happy that her religion is presented in a less than favorable light by some emails that are supposedly from the Clinton campaign, released by Wikileaks. She demands that Ms. Clinton apologize for what one of her staffers said. Let’s see how this plays out.

Ms. Flowers is aghast that anyone would point out that her church is rather medieval in its outlook, and sophist in its approach. She, like many American Roman Catholics, has invented her own Catholicism, picking and choosing what she obeys. However, if you show that she and her church are without base for their claims and hypocrites, then the wagons get circled immediately. She claims she can’t bear to actually post what was said except for one excerpt, but we can do that easily enough.

This is the excerpt she posted “Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the (Supreme Court) and think tanks to the media and social groups. It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.”

Hmmm, now, is there anything untrue about this? Well, there is and it’s from the fellows assuming that there is anything called “Christian democracy” since that term is never supported or mentioned by the bible’s Christianity nor by the Roman Catholic Church. Some more liberal Christians from various sects (including Catholics) do go by this, but it is an invention to match modern mores, not biblical standards. The truths stated are that the RCC has very systemic thought (going all the way back to the Church fathers aka Thomism amongst others) that is still considered dogma, and the completely ignorant ideas about women and homosexuals that the RCC tries to instill as law in any country they can. We have blasphemy laws still on the books in majority Catholic countries, and we have such wannabe theocracies like El Salvador where the RCC is so strong, a woman can’t get an abortion for any reason and children are forced to have babies or die in the attempt. We also have the RCC’s efforts to prevent sex education and their concerted effort in countries in Africa where AIDS is rampant to prevent anyone from taking any precautions at all, including wearing condoms.

Now, here are the other emails (here’s what I got when searching on “catholic”). In amongst lots and lots of inanities, some do point out the failures of the religion and its claims, and unlike what the Catholics and other theists would like you to believe, there is no law against that, no law against showing that the emperor has no clothes. When there is a truth, it’s hard to be so very indignant and insist that no one should mention it. Interestingly enough, the fellows in the emails are standing up for the RCC in that they think it is being bastardized by the conservatives, since the RCC does have some decent support of social issues (unless you are a woman who doesn’t want the Pope to decide her healthcare or anything but heterosexual). The emails also show that Catholics don’t agree on issues either, again pointing out that there are conservative Catholics and liberal Catholics, unlike the united front that Ms. Flowers tries to claim.

Like any religious fundamentalists, from Catholics to Protestants, from Muslims to Jews, they don’t like for their religion to be exposed to thought. How dare anyone not “respect” their religion! No matter that they each insist that the other will be going to some kind of eternal torture, a concept quite a bit nastier than pointing out failures.

She seems to forget, or wants us to forget, that her sect has spent millions in the fight to get Roe v. Wade overturned. It is only because the theocrats on the Supreme Court have been countered by those that respect the rule of law. They have lost their attempts to force a theocratic rule over women, but not for lack of trying.

This also holds true for the attempts that the RCC has made in preventing marriage equality and safe and equal treatment for those who are not heterosexual.

And we also have the examples of how the RCC wants power in the simple fact that they have done all they can in Pennsylvania to prevent the extension of the statute of limitations in rape cases involving children. They have done all they can to prevent having to be responsible for what they have done in the past to children.

And damn, Ms. Flowers, “grandma elsie who was a political lemming”? those blue collar “simple folk”? For all of your whining about “Catholic dignity”, you have no problem ignoring that “dignity” when convenient. But we know that what you call “dignity” is nothing more than a plea for no one to point out how very ignorant and backward Catholic ideas are. Those deserve to be shown to the light of day. But heck, if you have no problem in being “gender-backward” and in a “medieval dictatorship” (hello Pope!), then you can do that all you want. You just can’t do that to the rest of us.

Now, I find it amusing that Ms. Flowers and the other Catholics didn’t mention the most important email about Catholics in these leaked posts. Just feast your eyes on this: I was reading the emails and found this one that was just fascinating about Catholics, astronaut Edgar Mitchell (Apollo 14), and zero-point energy.

Xtian Poetry: Hypnagogic


I’m in my room. the room is dark.

all is silent and still. I really should be asleep.

-but I’m really not.


I’m haunted by a ghost.

a dream of what once was

or what has never yet been.


I try to form the thoughts and outlines

of the now fading apparition.

which was vivid and colorful



for me just a few moments ago.

sketches of a lost imagination.


I’m in my room. the room is dark.

I should really be asleep.

And where are you?


Sharing a Missions Story from a Reddit User

This post today from someone passing on the story 

This is not my story, but ut coyld gave been. I served in Inner-city Missions here and short terms in South Korea and two in Mexico. My missoons experiences were not the same but i can definitely understand his story given my knowledge and experiences of other missionaries i’ve had contact with. My deconversion story is different from this person’s but it’s not a story I haven’t heard from others still in the field. Please read this person’s real story and consider that Faith can also be ‘Killed In Action’. -kia


How a mission trip caused me to lose my faith. (self.atheism)
submitted 1 day ago by cn2092
This is a bit long. Sorry. In ’07 I was chosen to be a part of a 7-person group to visit some missionaries we supported in South Africa. I was sixteen, brainwashed, and on fire for this trip. Total cost per person to go? $2,300. As a team, we held fundraisers and we spoke each and every Sunday and Wednesday at church to encourage people to give money toward this great cause and the great work that we were going to do. We basically told people that they were wrong and selfish if they didn’t support the missions program.
So we get about a week out and everyone’s got their money and we’re getting ready to go. We get the final itinerary for our ten-day trip and while looking it over I started to notice something seemed a bit off, although I couldn’t put my finger on it. We are meeting every day at this point to rehearse the skits and things we’ll be doing while we’re over there.
We get to SA and are picked up at the airport by the missionary and her “assistant” or “head pastor” in a big conversion van. We get to her place and let me tell you: it is nice. Not nice as in she’s living like a queen or even maybe how we would think of really nice in America, but compared to these other people, her place is a palace. She’s got running water, she’s got tons of food, she’s got extra space and tv and everything. Not too bad, I thought, this will be nice.
Throughout our ten days we did not do anything of any real value. We didn’t bring food. We didn’t build anything. We didn’t provide medical care. We didn’t hardly break a sweat. We ate like kings. We were always full. We drove thirty miles one day to go to the MALL. To SHOP. For OURSELVES. We ate burgers and fries and coleslaw from an overpriced restaurant with the extra spending money that we had brought from extra donations.
Let me tell you something about Tzaneen, South Africa, folks. There are poor people there. There are no poor people in America. Yeah, we have homeless, “hungry”, etc. But there’s always a place for shelter and resources for help. In many of the small villages there is one water well. That one water well gets water let to it from the city two times a week for two hours at a time. The entire village must share and collect as much water as they possibly can during this time for all of their drinking, bathing, etc.
There is no readily available food. Many steal just to provide anything for their families. When the girls are old enough (young teens) they start to prostitute themselves to put food on the table. The living conditions are terrible. Imagine a cubicle at a bank. Double that, throw in some dirt floors, shoddy, weathered wooden walls, thatched roof with holes all over the place, and throw in a family of five: eldest brother (19) who works all week in the city and is never at home. Next four range in age from 5-17. Both sisters prostitute themselves. There is no bed. There is no regular source of food. Both parents have died from AIDS. All of the children have AIDS from their mother.
Now imagine driving by in a van as big as their home, drinking water from a fucking bottle, complaining that it’s too hot because the A/C is broken and you just happen to weigh 350 pounds (hellooooo, Pastor). The motherfucking nerve. This is when I really started to notice things were off. Did we stop? Fuck, no. We saw one of the kids at service that night in their village, though. Of course we told them that God was great and provided for all of His children. Fuck that.
Another day we were door-to-door witnessing. My team of four took a small village at the top of a “mountain” (read: big hill). It was about a half an hour walk up to the top. I met a lady in her mid-forties in a tattered green shirt, long skirt cached with dirt, and a leapord-print headdress. She was dirty, smelly, and looked a type of sad that I could never begin to understand. It was my turn to witness.
“Do you know about Jesus, miss? Do you know what a great and wonderful, kind and loving God I have come to tell you about?”… and it hit me like a hulk-fist to the stomach: What God is going to help this woman? What God is going to bring back the son that she hadn’t seen or heard from in two weeks, who had been involved in the local gang activity? What God was going to provide her next drink of water? No God was going to do these things for her.
I finished praying with her; I didn’t know what else to do. She accepted Christ, Hallelujah! Glory to His name! I felt… numb. We had been here for six days at this point and hadn’t done a single real thing for anybody.
“Alright, cn2092, we’re headed back down. We should get moving before it gets too hot!”
I couldn’t move. Here I was holding two bottles of water for the terribly difficult journey of one mile I had embarked upon. I was wearing my favorite hat to shield my face because God forbid I get sunburnt! As the others were walking away, I turned around and found that lady. I told her in my English, without the translator, to take these bottles and this hat, and to take care and that I would keep her in my prayers. To my shame, this is the only real thing I did the entire ten days I was in Africa. It was the only thing any of us did.
We spent all that money, all that time, all that energy, to go on a fucking church tour and tell some of the poorest, most downtrodden people on Earth what a great God we served. How He was the ultimate provider, healer, and comforter.
Before we left I gave all of the clothes I had taken over except for what I was wearing home. I left the rest of my snacks and I bought as much water as I could with what spending money I had left.
A big part of me died over there. My faith did, for sure. My faith in people, my faith in the church, my faith in Christians, and my faith in God.
My heart still breaks to think of all that money wasted. $16,000. We could have built dozens of homes, schools, etc. We could have built wells. We could have provided so many meals for so many people.
We did fucking nothing.
tl;dr: Ten days in Africa for Missions trip, did nothing to help the people, became numb and lost faith.


What would you tell this ‘brother’? How would you respond to his story? Have you been on short term missions trips as a teen or college age students? What was your experience? How would you explain the vast differences in how these missionaries lived versus the way the people they ‘served’ lived? How would you respond to the ‘missionaries’ this person visited?

Tell me in the comments below. And thanks for reading, Liking, and Following the Recovering Know It All