The Witching Hour....
I dwell in a lonely house I know
That vanished many a summer ago,
And left no trace but the cellar walls
And a cellar in which the daylight falls
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.
I dwell with a strangely aching heart
In that vanished abode there far apart
On that disused and forgotten road
That has no dust-bath now for the toad.
Night comes, the black bats tumble and dart;
It is under the small, dim, summer star.
I know not who these mute folk are
Who share the unlit place with me -
Those stones out under the low-limbed tree
Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.
They are tireless folk, but slow and sad
Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad -
With none among them that ever sings.
And yet, in view of how many things,
As sweet companions as might be had.
Always - I tell you this they learned -
Always at night when they returned
To the lonely house from far away
To lamps unlighted and fire gone gray,
They learned to rattle the lock and key
To give whatever might chance to be
Warning and time to be off in flight:
And preferring the out-to the in-door night
They learned to leave the house-door wide
Until they had lit the lamp inside.
By day the bat is cousin to the mouse;
He likes the attic of an aging house.
His fingers make a hat about his head.
His pulse is so slow we think him dead.
He loops in crazy figures half the night
Among the trees that face the corner light.
But when he brushes up against a screen,
We are afraid of what our eyes have seen:
For something is amiss or out of place
When mice with wings can wear a human face.