by: William Dean Howells
lies in the room
- Over against my own;
- The windows are lit with a ghastly bloom
- Of candles, burning alone,
- Untrimmed, and all aflare
- In the ghastly silence there!
- People go by the door,
- Tiptoe, holding their breath,
- And hush the talk that they held before,
- Lest they should waken Death,
- That is awake all night
- There in the candlelight!
- The cat upon the stairs
- Watches with flamy eye
- For the sleepy one who shall unawares
- Let her go stealing by.
- She softly, softly purrs,
- And claws at the banisters.
- The bird from out its dream
- Breaks with a sudden song,
- That stabs the sense like a sudden scream;
- The hound the whole night long
- Howls to the moonless sky,
- So far, and starry, and high.
MORE POEMS BY WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS
"Dead" is reprinted from
Poems. W.D. Howells. Boston: James R. Osgood & Company,