My darling lies down in her soft white bed,
And she laughs at me.
At ten o'clock the great gong sounds its dread
Prelude to splendour. I push back my chair,
And all the people leave their books. We flock,
Each day I sit in an ill-lighted room
To teach a boy;
For one hour by the clock great words and dreams
Are our employ.
I'd like to spend long hours at home
With a small child to bother me.
I'd take her out to see the shops
And fuss about my husband's tea.
Whenever I think of you, you are alone,
Shut by yourself between
Great walls of stone.
There is a stool, I think, and a table there,
My friend declares
Being woman and virgin she
Takes small account of periodicity
And she is right.
Standing on tiptoe, head back, eyes and arm
Upraised, Kate groped to reach the higher shelf.
Her sleeve slid up like darkness in alarm
Every day Miss Mary goes her rounds,
Through the splendid house and through the grounds,
Looking if the kitchen table's white,
Old memories waken old desires
Infallibly. While we're alive
With eye or ear or sense at all,