Beside the house sits a tree.
It never grows leaves,
Not in the winter, spring, summer or fall.
It just sits there, never getting small or ever growing tall,
How could this be?

Rumors are constantly being made,
And each day the house just begins to fade.
What happened inside that house?
I really don't know.
I guess it will always be a mystery.
The poet slowly paints the picture of an isolated house that she is curious about. When the tone for a scary, suspenseful house is set, it does not suffice to talk about the house alone. The setting, location and the environment in which it is set also plays a vital role. The poet says that there is a tree that exists near the house. She does not say that a tree grows, rather uses the word 'sits'. This adds to the uncertain mood of the house. The house is strange and interests the poet as there are a lot of unanswered questions in her mind. The tree does not grow leaves as it is different from all the other trees. Generally, trees are a representation of growth and positivity. But in the poem, the tree symbolises uncertainty and darkness. Trees usually shed leaves in autumn, but the tree does not grow leaves in any season. The tree just exists without growing, to which the poet remarks that it does not even grow short, showing that she wanted the tree to exhibit some kind of activity, even if it was abnormal. She wonders how this could be possible.
Tree without leaves
When there is the slightest abnormality, it is quite common for people to make rumours about it and make it a sensation. Nobody knows about the house, and people who await the answers, cook their own stories up. Most people do this, as it is better to believe in random stories than not know about something, as it gives them some temporary relief. There are rumours that the poet has heard about the house, but she knows that it is not the truth that she is seeking. But people also tend to get bored of anything once they get a fresh topic to discuss about. The poet says that the house slowly starts fading away, meaning that it fades in the memory of people. But the poet is not able to give up on it as easily as that. She wonders what would have happened inside the house before it got the isolated status. Was there a happy family living there? Was there some kind of mishap that destroyed the vibe of the house? The poet does not know the answer, and hence the house remains a mystery. The poem ends with the same mysterious tone in the reader's mind as it is in the poet's mind.
Words with difficult meaning:
FallAutumn season when the leaves fall from trees
RumourSomething that is not true
FadeDisappear into nothingness
AbnormalitySomething that is beyond normal
State Council of Educational Research and Training 2019. Term 1 English Standard - 10. The House on Elm Street - Nadia Bush (pp. 202-204). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.