Asylum

A house ringed round with trees and in the trees
One lancet where the crafty light slides through;
Comely, forsaken, unhusbanded,
Blind-eyed and mute, unlamped and smokeless, yet
Safe from the humiliation of death.
The porch is mossy, the roof-shingles are mossy,
Green furs the window-sills and beards the drip-stones,
A staring board, To Let , leans thigh-deep in
Grave-clothes of grass; and no one sees or cares.

One day, may be, a school will open here,
Or hospital, or home for fallen girls —
A fallen house for fallen girls, may be.
Laughter will shrill these silences away,
Break every pane of peace with foolishness,
And all the waiting, anxious memories
Abashed will slink through the trees away, away.

So calm a house should not be given to noise,
Nor scornful feet. But old men here should come,
When apprehension first shall haunt their eyes.
Fire should warm all the rooms and smoke the chimneys,
Creeper renew its blood on the cold stones,
A porch light shine on the rain-sodden path
And watery ruts; and wise men here should find
Asylum from the thought and fear of Death.
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