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The House Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Levine Type: poem Views: 11

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This poem has a door, a locked door,

and curtains drawn against the day,

but at night the lights come on, one

in each room, and the neighbors swear

they hear music and the sound of dancing.

These days the neighbors will swear

to anything, but that is not why

the house is locked up and no one goes

in or out all day long; that is because

this is a poem first and a house only

at night when everyone should be asleep.

The milkman tries to stop at dawn,

for he has three frosty white bottles

to place by the back door, but his horse

shakes his head back and forth, and so

he passes on his way. The papers pile

up on the front porch until the rain

turns them into gray earth, and they run

down the stairs and say nothing

to anyone. Whoever made this house

had no idea of beauty -- it's all gray --

and no idea of what a happy family

needs on a day in spring when tulips

shout from their brown beds in the yard.

Back there the rows are thick with weeds,

stickers, choke grass, the place has gone

to soggy mulch, and the tools are hanging

unused from their hooks in the tool room.

Think of a marriage taking place at one

in the afternoon on a Sunday in June

in the stuffy front room. The dining table

is set for twenty, and the tall glasses

filled with red wine, the silver sparkling.

But no one is going in or out, not even

a priest in his long white skirt, or a boy

in pressed shorts, or a plumber with a fat bag.


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