XV. I Know Some Friendly Houses Off the Road


I know some friendly houses off the road
A Jehovah’s Witness ’d like the look of,—
Wooden barred,
And windows hanging low,
Inviting to
A portico,
Where two could knock:
One hand the book,
The other a block
Of useful pamphlets.
Old-fashioned clothes,
Easy to guess whose.

How orderly the kitchen ‘d look by day,
With just a kettle steaming on the stove,—
But they could decline,
Not requesting coffee;
And so the owner focuses
As few will.

A pair of spectacles stare just so—
The other one is plain.
The speech is soft,
The hands—no flair.
The sun cuts through the air:
How long will they be there?

There’s plunder,—where?
Elderly, or sad,
Lonely, or sick,
A talk, some familiar words
To match the single Gran
Stuck sitting there.

Day rattles too,
Stealth’s slow;
The sun has got as far
As the third sycamore.
Screams kettle,
“I’m ready!”
And echoes, rooms away,
Say – “steady!”
While the old lady, with a heave,
Fancies asking them to leave.


The practically epic (by Dickinsonian standards) version.

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