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.