The Old Man in the House of Bone


He sits in his house in the dark wood
in the house of bone in the dark, tangled wood
at the wood’s centre where no paths lead
where all the paths have been erased or grown over
so that no one knows the way to the house of bone
they can’t get in, and he can’t get out
because the way is lost, it never existed
and the forgotten birds scutter among leaves of silence
and the roots of silence have burrowed down into his brain
have pushed their long fingers into his blood
are picking at his entrails, sorting through his belongings
emptying him out like a cardboard box
a ghost in its grave, a last gasp
pinning him down to the house of bone
crumbling under its weight of silences.
Let the house of bone be a church
where you kneel and pray to nothing


Poems by David Calcutt.

Illustrations by Peter Tinkler.

Published by V. Press in 2016.

You can purchase a copy here:


The Old Man in the House of Bone is a fable, a fairytale, is a humane and tender account of an old man’s mental and physical decline into the final silence.  David Calcutt’s imagery grows from the page and fixes itself inside the skull.  He is a master magician, a seeker of darkness.” Helen Ivory