I pause in the stairwell, hearing From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys Like a chain hauled over a gunwhale.
Young as she is, the stuff Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy: I wish her a lucky passage.
But now it is she who pauses, As if to reject my thought and its easy figure. A stillness greatens, in which
The whole house seems to be thinking, And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor Of strokes, and again is silent.
I remember the dazed starling Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago; How we stole in, lifted a sash
And retreated, not to affright it; And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door, We watched the sleek, wild, dark And iridescent creature Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove To the hard floor, or the desk-top,
And wait then, humped and bloody, For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits Rose when, suddenly sure,
It lifted off from a chair-back, Beating a smooth course for the right window And clearing the sill of the world.
It is always a matter, my darling, Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish What I wished you before, but harder.