13. The Evergreens: The Piazza

A photograph of The Evergreens, a stately ochre Italianate home, in autumn. A wide porch runs along the front and sides of the home. The trees bordering the house have red autumn leaves. The porch and French windows are bathed in golden light.

You are standing in front of the piazza, or porch, that runs along the front and side of The Evergreens. The piazza was a distinctly Italianate feature of this house.

The piazza at the Evergreens was built into nature. A wisteria vine grew up one of the columns and was trained on special brackets along the roofline, creating a green canopy with fragrant clusters of purple blooms in June. On the west side of the piazza, the roof was built around one mature apple tree that predated the house. Another apple tree a bit further down the slope had a tree house built into it.

[sound of birdsong]

The piazza on this side of the house flanks the front parlor. Emily once likened the parlor at The Evergreens to a sunset:

Though it is almost nine o’clock, the skies are gay and yellow, and there’s a purple craft or so, in which a friend could sail. Tonight looks like “Jerusalem.” I think Jerusalem must be like Sue’s Drawing Room, when we are talking and laughing there . . . . (L189)

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You might picture Susan sitting inside in the parlor, reading a note from Emily in the strong light from the windows. Even though they lived next door, they still sent each other written notes—Emily frequently enclosing one of her poems. The parlor was often adorned with one of Susan’s flower arrangements and festooned with ivy and fern, bringing nature indoors. Here’s a poem that Emily shared with Susan:

The Crickets sang

And set the Sun

And Workmen finished, one by one

Their Seam the Day opon -

The low Grass loaded with the Dew

The Twilight stood as Strangers do

With Hat in Hand, polite and new

To stay as if, or go -

A Vastness, as a Neighbor, came,

A Wisdom without Face, or Name,

A Peace, as Hemispheres at Home

And so, the Night became -


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