Sunday, May 9, 2010

"SALE" by Theodore Roethke


Who ran up and down the big center stairs

The what-not,

the settee,


the Chippendale chairs


--And an attic of horrors, a closet of fears.



The furniture polished and polished so grand,

A stable and paddock,


some fox-hunting land,


The summer house shaped like a village band stand


--And grandfather's sinister hovering hand.


The antimacassar for the sofa in red,


The Bechstein piano,


the four-poster bed,


The library used as a card room instead

--And some watery eyes in a Copley head.



The dining room carpet dyed brighter than blood,


The table where everyone ate as he should,


The sideboard beside which a tall footman stood


--And a fume of decay that clings fast to the wood.



The hand-painted wall-paper, finer than skin,


The room that the children had never been in,


All the rings and the relics encrusted with sin


--And the taint in a blood that was running too thin.



To read more poetry by Theodore Roethke, visit ADILEGIAN.