Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems

Part One: Life 15. I know some lonely houses off the road


I know some lonely houses off the road

A robber 'd like the look of, --

Wooden barred,

And windows hanging low,

Inviting to

A portico,

Where two could creep:

One hand the tools,

The other peep

To make sure all's asleep.

Old-fashioned eyes,

Not easy to surprise!

How orderly the kitchen 'd look by night,

With just a clock, --

But they could gag the tick,

And mice won't bark;

And so the walls don't tell,

None will.

A pair of spectacles ajar just stir --

An almanac's aware.

Was it the mat winked,

Or a nervous star?

The moon slides down the stair

To see who's there.

There's plunder, -- where?

Tankard, or spoon,

Earring, or stone,

A watch, some ancient brooch

To match the grandmamma,

Staid sleeping there.

Day rattles, too,

Stealth's slow;

The sun has got as far

As the third sycamore.

Screams chanticleer,

"Who's there?"

And echoes, trains away,

Sneer -- "Where?"

While the old couple, just astir,

Fancy the sunrise left the door ajar!