Harry Kemp

(15 December 1883 – 8 August 1960 / Youngstown, Ohio)

A Poet's Room (Greenwich Village 1912)


I have a table, cot and chair
And nothing more. The walls are bare
Yet I confess that in my room
Lie Syrian rugs rich from the loom,
Stand statues poised on flying toe,
Hang tapestries with folk a-flow
As the wind takes them to and fro,
And workman fancy has inlaid
My walls with ivory and jade.

Though opening on a New York street
Full of cries and hurrying feet
My window is a faery space
That gives on each imagined place;
Old ruins lost in a desert peace;
The broken fanes and shrines of Greece;
Aegean islands fringed with foam;
The everlasting tops of Rome;
Troy flowing red with skyward flame,
And every spot of hallowed fame.

Outside my window I can see
The sweet blue lake of Galilee,
And Carmel's purple-regioned height
And Sinai clothed with stars and night.
But this is told in confidence,
So not a word when you go hence,
For if my landlord once but knew
My attic fetched so large a view,
The churl would never rest content
Till he had raised the monthly rent.

Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010

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