Anne Sexton

Portrait Of An Old Woman On The College Tavern Wall

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Oh down at the tavern

the children are singing

around their round table

and around me still.

Did you hear what it said?
I only said

how there is a pewter urn

pinned to the tavern wall,

as old as old is able

to be and be there still.

I said, the poets are tere

I hear them singing and lying

around their round table

and around me still.

Across the room is a wreath

made of a corpse's hair,

framed in glass on the wall,

as old as old is able

to be and be remembered still.

Did you hear what it said?
I only said

how I want to be there and I

would sing my songs with the liars

and my lies with all the singers.

And I would, and I would but

it's my hair in the hair wreath,

my cup pinned to the tavern wall,

my dusty face they sing beneath.

Poets are sitting in my kitchen.

Why do these poets lie?

Why do children get children and

Did you hear what it said?
I only said

how I want to be there,

Oh, down at the tavern

where the prophets are singing

around their round table

until they are still.

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Anne Sexton