– simple thoughts & writings &c. by Elizabeth Heimbaugh –

The Yellow Room (I)

I have been sitting in this room for days.
Nobody minds me. The morning is white
and shouts loud obscenities in the craze

of dawn. The echoes kept me up the night.
I am the insomniac child of stars.
I am the wakeful one who feeds a kite

to the hungry cat while he chases cars.
He bobs his orange tail from street to street.
I watch him closely from the window bars

until the clock cuckoos and the high heat
of the yellow room puts me in a spell.
For days I have sat on the window seat.

Nobody minds me. I adorn my cell
with quietude and small states of affairs.
The paperboy is here, I can tell

by the barking of dogs under the stairs.
What is it that the newsmen have written?
The war is longer and nobody cares

and the soldiers sleep all over Britain.
The bishop is saying Mass for the dead.
The orange cat is old and flea-bitten.

I have watched it from the foot of my bed.
I have swallowed the crumbs of my daily bread.

The Yellow Room (II)

Eyes in the curtain let in the sun,
lacey bringers of morning with clipped-off wings.
The moths have gone
with the moon.

I sing from bed
in the yellow room.

Frère Jacques, frère Jacques

The cat has left me cold again.
He bobs his tail against the light
and out the bedroom door.

He is looking for a tuna can.
I put one by the sink before.
The stink is in my lungs.

Dormez-vous? dormez-vous?

The roses are still sleeping.
Who will water them in the snow?
Who will cut them for my vase?

The room is wearing an empty face.
It takes my questions with a stare.
I hear the echoes everywhere.

Sonnez les matines! sonnez les matines!

The cuckoo shrills a sound.

It is time for the beardless boy
to bring the daily news.

He is bashful as a fawn,
drops the paper quiet and quick.

I will leave a tip in the Christmas mail.
He should have a winter hat.

Din, dan, don. Din, dan, don.

His mother sings him lullabies.
He falls asleep before he cries,
dreaming of the news.

She will not send him off to war.
The boys are taking rest.

I fear the cat is getting old.
I have lost the borrowed shoe.

I sing from bed
in the yellow room.

Frère Jacques, dormez-vous?