Poets | Bookstore | Poem of the Day | Top 40 | Search | Comments | Privacy
July 26th, 2014 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 115,441 comments.
Amy Lowell - The Basket

I
The inkstand is full of ink, and the paper lies 
white and unspotted,
in the round of light thrown by a candle.  Puffs of darkness 
sweep into
the corners, and keep rolling through the room behind his chair.  The 
air
is silver and pearl, for the night is liquid with moonlight.
See how the roof glitters, like ice!
Over there, a slice of yellow cuts into the silver-blue, 
and beside it stand
two geraniums, purple because the light is silver-blue, to-night.

See!  She is coming, the young woman with the bright hair.
She swings a basket as she walks, which she places on the sill,
between the geranium stalks.  He laughs, and crumples 
his paper
as he leans forward to look.  "The Basket Filled with 
Moonlight",
what a title for a book!
The bellying clouds swing over the housetops.

He has forgotten the woman in the room with the geraniums.  He 
is beating
his brain, and in his eardrums hammers his heavy pulse.  She 
sits
on the window-sill, with the basket in her lap.  And tap!  She 
cracks a nut.
And tap!  Another.  Tap!  Tap!  Tap!  The 
shells ricochet upon the roof,
and get into the gutters, and bounce over the edge and disappear.
"It is very queer," thinks Peter, "the basket was 
empty, I'm sure.
How could nuts appear from the atmosphere?"
The silver-blue moonlight makes the geraniums purple, 
and the roof glitters
like ice.

II
Five o'clock.  The geraniums are very 
gay in their crimson array.
The bellying clouds swing over the housetops, and over the roofs 
goes Peter
to pay his morning's work with a holiday.
"Annette, it is I.  Have you finished?  Can 
I come?"
Peter jumps through the window.
"Dear, are you alone?"
"Look, Peter, the dome of the tabernacle is done.  This 
gold thread
is so very high, I am glad it is morning, a starry sky would have
seen me bankrupt.  Sit down, now tell me, is your story 
going well?"
The golden dome glittered in the orange of the 
setting sun.  On the walls,
at intervals, hung altar-cloths and chasubles, and copes, and stoles,
and coffin palls.  All stiff with rich embroidery, and 
stitched with
so much artistry, they seemed like spun and woven gems, or flower-buds
new-opened on their stems.

Annette looked at the geraniums, very red against the blue sky.
"No matter how I try, I cannot find any thread 
of such a red.
My bleeding hearts drip stuff muddy in comparison.  Heigh-ho!  See 
my little
pecking dove?  I'm in love with my own temple.  Only 
that halo's wrong.
The colour's too strong, or not strong enough.  I don't 
know.  My eyes
are tired.  Oh, Peter, don't be so rough; it is valuable.  I 
won't do
any more.  I promise.  You tyrannise, Dear, 
that's enough.  Now sit down
and amuse me while I rest."
The shadows of the geraniums creep over the floor, 
and begin to climb
the opposite wall.

Peter watches her, fluid with fatigue, floating, and drifting,
and undulant in the orange glow.  His senses flow towards 
her,
where she lies supine and dreaming.  Seeming drowned in 
a golden halo.
The pungent smell of the geraniums is hard to bear.

He pushes against her knees, and brushes his lips across her languid 
hands.
His lips are hot and speechless.  He woos her, quivering, 
and the room
is filled with shadows, for the sun has set.  But she 
only understands
the ways of a needle through delicate stuffs, and the shock of one 
colour
on another.  She does not see that this is the same, and 
querulously murmurs
his name.
"Peter, I don't want it.  I am tired."
And he, the undesired, burns and is consumed.
There is a crescent moon on the rim of the sky.

III
"Go home, now, Peter.  To-night is full 
moon.  I must be alone."
"How soon the moon is full again!  Annette, 
let me stay.  Indeed, Dear Love,
I shall not go away.  My God, but you keep me starved!  You 
write
`No Entrance Here', over all the doors.  Is it not strange, 
my Dear,
that loving, yet you deny me entrance everywhere.  Would 
marriage
strike you blind, or, hating bonds as you do, why should I be denied
the rights of loving if I leave you free?  You want the 
whole of me,
you pick my brains to rest you, but you give me not one heart-beat.
Oh, forgive me, Sweet!  I suffer in my loving, and you 
know it.  I cannot
feed my life on being a poet.  Let me stay."
"As you please, poor Peter, but it will hurt me 
if you do.  It will
crush your heart and squeeze the love out."
He answered gruffly, "I know what I'm about."
"Only remember one thing from to-night.  My 
work is taxing and I must
have sight!  I MUST!"
The clear moon looks in between the geraniums.  On 
the wall,
the shadow of the man is divided from the shadow of the woman
by a silver thread.

They are eyes, hundreds of eyes, round like marbles!  Unwinking, 
for there
are no lids.  Blue, black, gray, and hazel, and the irises 
are cased
in the whites, and they glitter and spark under the moon.  The 
basket
is heaped with human eyes.  She cracks off the whites 
and throws them away.
They ricochet upon the roof, and get into the gutters, and bounce
over the edge and disappear.  But she is here, quietly 
sitting
on the window-sill, eating human eyes.
The silver-blue moonlight makes the geraniums purple, 
and the roof shines
like ice.

IV
How hot the sheets are!  His skin is 
tormented with pricks,
and over him sticks, and never moves, an eye.  It lights 
the sky with blood,
and drips blood.  And the drops sizzle on his bare skin, 
and he smells them
burning in, and branding his body with the name "Annette".
The blood-red sky is outside his window now.  Is 
it blood or fire?
Merciful God!  Fire!  And his heart wrenches 
and pounds "Annette!"
The lead of the roof is scorching, he ricochets, 
gets to the edge,
bounces over and disappears.
The bellying clouds are red as they swing over 
the housetops.

V
The air is of silver and pearl, for the night is 
liquid with moonlight.
How the ruin glistens, like a palace of ice!  Only two 
black holes swallow
the brilliance of the moon.  Deflowered windows, sockets 
without sight.
A man stands before the house.  He sees 
the silver-blue moonlight,
and set in it, over his head, staring and flickering, eyes of geranium 
red.

Annette!

Share |

Added: Feb 1 2004 | Viewed: 4231 times | Comments and analysis of The Basket by Amy Lowell Comments (13)

The Basket - Comments and Information

Poet: Amy Lowell
Poem: 5. The Basket
Volume: Sword Blades & Poppy Seed
- Poppy Seed

Comment 13 of 13, added on March 5th, 2014 at 5:53 AM.
CPCU (Chartered Prop

CPCU (Chartered Property and Casualty Expert): Quotes Chimp qualification is the same of a CLU, but relates to the specialty homeandinjury insurance. So that you can secure a CPCU appointment, the candidate must-pass 10 nationwide tests, possess at least 3 years expertise in the specialty, and accept follow a code ethics. This program is managed from the American Institute for Property and Responsibility Insurance Underwriters in Malvern, Pa.

Kaylea from Trinidad and Tobago, Republic
Comment 12 of 13, added on September 21st, 2013 at 6:05 PM.
 ( 2012.02.23 17:53

 ( 2012.02.23 17:53 ) : I precisely neeedd to thank you very much yet again. I do not know what I might have made to happen in the absence of the actual secrets shown by you on my area of interest. It actually was a difficult situation for me personally, but discovering the very specialised strategy you processed the issue took me to leap with fulfillment. I am happy for this advice and even hope you realize what an amazing job that you are accomplishing training some other people thru your site. Most probably you have never encountered all of us.

Ruhiket from Congo, Democratic Republic of
Comment 11 of 13, added on May 28th, 2013 at 6:28 AM.
ibrGKtMdlHow

Chkehq Thank you for your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

seo service from Lithuania

Are you looking for more information on this poem? Perhaps you are trying to analyze it? The poem, The Basket, has received 13 comments. Click here to read them, and perhaps post a comment of your own.

Poem Info

Lowell Info
Copyright © 2000-2012 Gunnar Bengtsson. All Rights Reserved. Links | Bookstore