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And though the sheltering walls be thin…

February 23, 2017

My father read a Louis Untermeyer poem aloud at my son’s christening, and I have loved it ever since (see below). The “sheltering walls” reference is especially apropos since our 1912-era house was indeed thin-walled.


My baby bunny-boy

I love poems and writings on the subject of homes, kitchens, cooking and home building. That’s partly why I’m doing this blog so I can share great writing about food and home.

I don’t think of this as a religious poem, although it does have a reference to faith. Whatever your faith may be, I hope you love this as much as I do.

A Prayer for this House

“May nothing evil cross this door,
And may ill-fortune never pry
About these windows; may the roar and rains go by.
Strengthened by faith, the rafters will
Withstand the battering of the storm.
This hearth, though all the world grow chill,
Will keep you warm.
Peace shall walk softly through these rooms,
Touching your lips with holy wine,
Till every casual corner blooms
Into a shrine.
Laughter shall drown the raucous shout
And, though the sheltering walls are thin,
May they be strong to keep hate out
And hold love in.”

Louis Untermeyer, 1885-1977

*Little-known fact about Louis, according to Goodreads: “Sentiments of social protest expressed in the 1914 volume Challenge received disapproval from anti-communist groups 40 years later; as a result of suspicion, Untermeyer lost his seat on the “What’s My Line” game show panel, to publisher Bennett Cerf.”

* Sources:

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