Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

Music In The Flat


When Tom and I were married, we took a little flat;
I had a taste for singing and playing and all that.
And Tom, who loved to hear me, said he hoped
I would not stop
All practice, like so many wives who let their
music drop.
So I resolved to set apart an hour or two each day
To keeping vocal chords and hands in trim to sing and play.

The second morning I had been for half and hour or more
At work on Haydn’s masses, when a tap came at my door.
A nurse, who wore a dainty cap and apron, and a smile,
Ran down to ask if I would cease my music for awhile.
The lady in the flat above was very ill, she said,
And the sound of my piano was distracting to her head.

A fortnight’s exercises lost, ere I began them, when,
The following morning at my door, there came that tap again;
A woman with an anguished face implored me to forego
My music for some days to come – a man was dead below.
I shut down my piano till the corpse had left the house,
And spoke to Tom in whispers and was quiet as a mouse.

A week of labour limbered up my stiffened hand and voice,
I stole an extra hour from sleep, to practice and rejoice;
When, ting-a-ling, the door-bell rang a discord in my trill –
The baby in the flat across was very, very ill.
For ten long days that infant’s life was hanging by a thread,
And all that time my instrument was silent as the dead.

So pain and death and sickness came in one perpetual row,
When babies were not born above, then tenants died below.
The funeral over underneath, some one fell ill on top,
And begged me, for the love of God, to let my music drop.
When trouble went not up or down, it stalked across the hall,
And so in spite of my resolve, I do not play at all.

Submitted: Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: music, funeral, baby, woman, house, work, smile, sleep, lost, pain, death, god, hope, running, women

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Music In The Flat by Ella Wheeler Wilcox )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Live to Sleep, Robert Kane
  2. Devil Tree, Pradip Chattopadhyay
  3. My Translations!, Varanasi Ramabrahmam
  4. It's an illusion, Gopikrishnan Nair
  5. Rest in my book of brook:, binod bastola
  6. Rascal, Mandolyn ...
  7. The Homecoming, Gopikrishnan Nair
  8. A Blanket of Starz! is a Goodnight~, Monk E. Biz
  9. Investing In Banks Or Companies Beware, Terence G. Craddock
  10. putin and napoleon, co the skipper

Poem of the Day

poet Wilfred Owen

All sounds have been as music to my listening:
Pacific lamentations of slow bells,
The crunch of boots on blue snow rosy-glistening,
Shuffle of autumn leaves; and all farewells:

...... Read complete »

   
[Hata Bildir]