An Article of Furniture

[During her lifetime, Sibyl Mary Croly was a prolific poet. So far I have found over 200 published and unpublished poems. A Square Inch of Space (1974) and Mock Us Gently (1978) contained collections of her works. Numerous other poems were published in newspapers and magazines from 1902 to at least 1978.]

An old piano comes to have
a sort of soul — at least
it can hardly fail to gather
some accretion of humanity
for good or ill. Consider the tears
that have seeped through its key-board
to be embalmed in dust;
the violences of fist and elbow
its ivories have endured.It might even, having lost hope,
acquire a sense of humor.
One family used to raise the lid
to let a kitten pounce
on the bouncing hammers.
That piano bore scars
where infant legs had kicked their way
gradually down to the pedals.Another once stood as a barrier
between two terrified people
who dared not touch each other.
It never stayed in tune afterward.

A tiny piano stands
in the back of the store—
one hundred and twenty five years old, they say.
Daylight shows through the back
and most of the hammers play
two tones at once (Believe Me
If All Those Endearing Young Charms1 ).
It will be bought for rosewood
and gutted to make a writing desk.

Oh, my gleaming new grand,
be humble.

[Published in “A Square Inch of Space” (1974).]

All of Sibyl’s poetry published to date on this website can be seen in these posts:


  1. A popular song written in 1808 by Irish poet Thomas Moore

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