Brown Furniture

By Katha Pollitt

Don’t throw out that old chair!
Someone said yes there,
listened to Brahms while it rained,
fell asleep over “Das Kapital,”
told a small child about King Alfred and the cakes.

Don’t be fooled by the dining table,
discreetly silent under its green cloth.
Momentous events occurred there,
all of which it remembers perfectly.
A terrible silence was broken over cake,
and three aunts sang a song about Romania.
Not your aunts? Not important. They were there. Your living room’s still making history.
All night the sofa
gossips with the Turkish carpet,
which boasts to the glass-fronted bookcase
about the fantastic voyages of its youth.

These things remember so that we can forget.
Who will love the old
if not the old?

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