IN THE BASEMENT


Beneath this floor I stand on is the ground--

the solid ground, though tunneled with scurrying eyes,

and the slow, intense activities of stone,


Above, across the ceiling, field mice run

with a scuttling noise, and beyond that there's the sound

of giant footsteps thumping through the upper rooms.


It's cool and damp down here, and daylight comes

feebly, through two windows--oblong, high--

and through black pipes the water rushes down.


I could go upstairs and confront the autumn sun;

through picture windows, face the blazing trees,

and the courtyard where the scarlet flowers bloom,


but linger here, submerged, half underground,

where all is still and hidden--safe--alone--

while the world above goes plunging on to die.



Copyright 2010-2012 Paul Petrie