The second half of the Auden pairing (see yesterday’s post):
(for Anne Weiss)
Men would never have come to need an attic.
Keen collectors of glass or Roman coins build
Special cabinets for them, date on, index
Each new specimen: only women cling to
Items out of their past they have no use for,
Can’t name now what they couldn’t bear to part with.
Up there, under the eaves, in bulging boxes,
Hats, veils, ribbons, galoshes, programs, letters
Wait unworshipped (a starving spider spins for
The occasional fly): no clock recalls it
Once an hour to the household it’s a part of,
No Saint’s Day is devoted to its function.
All it knows of a changing world it has to
Guess from children, who conjure in its plenum,
Now an eyrie for two excited sisters,
Where, when Mother is bad, her rage can’t reach them,
Now a schooner on which a lonely only
Boy sails north or approaches coral islands.
–W. H. Auden
Both Up There and Down There, by Auden, are included in the book, Poems for Architects by Jill Stoner.