"House with the Grey Gate" is a poem by Tabish Khair that explores the themes of ageing, loneliness, and resilience. The poem describes a white house with a little grey gate that is always open. An old woman sits on its porch and knits, while an old man sometimes tends to the faded garden. The neighbourhood is filled with skyscrapers, and the old couple's house and way of life stand out in contrast.
The old woman on the porch is expecting someone, but nobody has come for years. Despite this, she continues to look up whenever the gate creaks with age or wind, holding onto a hope that is stubborn as weeds. The old man tends to the shrubbery that refuses to be weeded out, much like the old couple refuses to leave their old way of life behind.
The poem highlights the value of the elderly and their ability to continue living fulfilling lives. The old woman knits and the old man tends to the garden, demonstrating their capability and willingness to engage in activities despite their age. The open gate signifies an invitation to visitors, but also a sense of openness and transparency.
Overall, "House with the Grey Gate" is a poignant and reflective poem that challenges common stereotypes about ageing and emphasizes the importance of cherishing our elders and their stories.