Her House

By Constance Urdang 1922–1996 Constance Urdang
If I am in the house
beams posts planks siding slate   
protect us
guard us against the night-terrors

Floor shore us up above the void below   
cover us roof
enclose us from the void above
door keep out the angry stranger

Hearth cherish the fire   
windows be beacons
breathe out my warm air chimney
while I am in the house

In this room
my eyes be twelve-paned windows   
clock pump my blood
cover my nakedness, rug
curtains be eyelids
sofa, I rest on your strong thighs

Where is the soul’s seat?
Doctors have cut up frogs and not found love.   
Is this my reason?

I in myself

Constance Urdang, “Her House” from The Picnic in the Cemetery. Copyright © 1975 by Constance Urdang. Used with the permission of George Braziller, Inc.

Source: Poetry (April 1968).


This poem originally appeared in the April 1968 issue of Poetry magazine

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April 1968


Poet and novelist Constance Urdang's poem "The Moon Tree," from her first poetry collection, Charades and Celebrations, has been praised by Raymond Roseliep in a Poetry article as "the kind of thing Stephen Vincent Benet had in mind when he defined poetry as magic." Roseliep feels that another poem from this collection, "The Old Woman," is "achievement of the same caliber . . . and so is 'In the Junkshop,' which proves that . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Home Life

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