Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SEVEN TWILIGHTS: 3, by CONRAD AIKEN



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SEVEN TWILIGHTS: 3, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When the tree bares, the music of it changes
Last Line: "your lights and music. It will be good to talk."
Variant Title(s): The House
Subject(s): Houses; Music & Musicians; Old Age


When the tree bares, the music of it changes:
Hard and keen is the sound, long and mournful;
Pale are the poplar boughs in the evening light
Above my house, against a slate-cold cloud.
When the house ages and the tenants leave it,
Cricket sings in the tall grass by the threshold;
Spider, by the cold mantel, hangs his web.
Here, in a hundred years from that clear season
When first I came here, bearing lights and music,
To this old ghostly house my ghost will come, --
Pause in the half-light, turn by the poplar, glide
Above tall grasses through the broken door.
Who will say that he saw -- or the dusk deceived him --
A mist with hands of mist blow down from the tree
And open the door and enter and close it after?
Who will say that he saw, as midnight struck
Its tremulous golden twelve, a light in the window,
And first heard music, as of an old piano,
Music remote, as if it came from the earth,
Far down; and then, in the quiet, eager voices?
". . . Houses grow old and die, houses have ghosts --
Once in a hundred years we return, old house,
And live once more." . . . And then the ancient answer,
In a voice not human, but more like creak of boards
Or rattle of panes in the wind -- "Not as the owner,
But as a guest you come, to fires not lit
By hands of yours. . . . Through these long-silent chambers
Move slowly, turn, return, and bring once more
Your lights and music. It will be good to talk."





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