Friday, November 4, 2011

"On the Asylum Road" by Charlotte Mew


Theirs is the house whose windows—every pane—
   Are made of darkly stained or clouded glass:
Sometimes you come upon them in the lane,
   The saddest crowd that you will ever pass.

But still we merry town or village folk
   Throw to their scattered stare a kindly grin,
And think no shame to stop and crack a joke
   With the incarnate wages of man’s sin.

None but ourselves in our long gallery we meet,
   The moor-hen stepping from her reeds with dainty feet,
      The hare-bell bowing on his stem,
Dance not with us; their pulses beat
   To fainter music; nor do we to them
            Make their life sweet.

The gayest crowd that they will ever pass
   Are we to brother-shadows in the lane:
Our windows, too, are clouded glass
   To them, yes, every pane!

Source of the text – Charlotte Mew, Saturday Market.  New York: The Macmillan Company, 1921, p. 36.

Bourguignomicon: If windowpanes represent thought in this gorgeous word-flow, sympathetic and/or patronizing to ‘them,’ then what is the lane? Id? Superego?

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