The Sash Window Poem by Rosemary Tonks

The Sash Window



Outside that house, I stood like a dog;
The window was mysterious, with its big, dull pane
Where the mud pastes are thrown by dark, alkaline skies
That glide slowly along, keeping close to the ground.


- But for the raging disgust which shook me
So that my throat was scratched by her acid
(Whose taste is the true Latin of culture) -
I could have lived the life of these roads.


That piece of filthy laurel moves up and down,
And then the dead rose-leaves with their spat-on look
Where the sour carbon lies...under
The sash of the window comes the smell of stewing innards,


With the freshly washed lavatory - I know where
The old linoleum has its platinum wet patches
And the disinfectant dries off in whiffs.
Hellish, abominable house where I have been young!


With your insane furnishings - above all
The backs of dressing-tables where the dredged wood
Faces the street, raw. And the window
With its servant-maid's mystery, which contains nothing,


Where I bowed over the ruled-up music books
With their vitreous pencilling, and piano keys
That touched water. How forlornly my strong, destructive head
Eats again the reek of the sash window.

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