Music in an Empty House

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The house was empty and
      the people of the house
      gone many months

Months for the weevil
      for the patient worm
      timber-mole softly tunnelling
      for the parliament of rats

Footsteps slink past
      damp walls

Slow feet
      warily scuff
      bare boards
The much-bitten

In a certain curtain'd room
      the halting steps evade
      chairs white shrouded

To twitch the winding-sheet
      around a grand piano
      thin phalanx of sound
      sharp rat's teeth edge yellow
      with decay

The much-bitten

On rat's teeth-edge
      fingers preparate

Then falling send
  as tenantry
    darnp-muffied chords
      rusting strings
  a still-born song

Their fortissimoThe tattered

© Hugh Sykes Davies