THE HOUSE OF WAITING
It’s all dust and old newspapers and books and notebooks
Big folio registers and diaries and files
And outdoor clothes gathering dust in heaps
Never disturbed in years now
Boxes made of steel sheets
In all shapes and sizes full of old issues of magazines
Bedspreads and blankets and quilts no longer in use
It’s not a dead house but a dying one
There are smells lurking in its corners
Some dank some sunshiney full of motes
In the air caught in beams of light
From the wide old windows
It’s a shabby tired house, much suited
To slow decay, but proliferating in Calendars
Showing this month this day today
And clocks showing this hour this minute
With a little variation from the bedroom to the kitchen
From the hall to the prayer room
Food is cooked though, mostly fresh
And there is water and tea and curd and fruit
And sherbets. It waits cheerfully enough
For death and the final disintegration
It may look sad but it is not afraid.
There are flowerless flowerpots by the front door.
Few visit but those who do, do not starve
They go with bellies full.
The House of Waiting is absent-mindedly
Sprawlingly, lazily, impersonally kind.