|Downstairs the ceiling overhead consists|
Of beams and joists and rough unfinished boards ---
The splintery skeleton of floors above
That varnish, tile, parquet, or carpet hide
From delicate perception, lest offense
Be given to the senses of the sleek
Who glide from room to room on polished tracks ...
Exchanging pleasantries ... sipping their drinks ...
Admiring the portraits on the walls
Beneath the chandeliers that sprinkle light
To mist bare maiden shoulders with a dew
Of wealth and beauty. Music now cascades
Soft in a waterfall of liquid sound.
A dozen conversations splash and fade
Like waves upon the shore of a bright bay.
But underneath the surface of the sea
A colder current flows. The denizens
Of basement chambers, servants of the house,
Can hear the creak of floorboards as new guests
Arrive and doff their cloaks. They know their job,
These underfolk: to stand, obey, and wait
Upon their betters. So they lift their eyes
To naked bulbs, stark shadows, rafters, planks,
Preparing to put on a cheerful mask
Of gracious acquiescence in their rôle.
They fix their smiles in place and go upstairs.
Tuesday, December 26, 2000 at 07:05:51 (EST) = Datetag20001226