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Robert Friend

(1913 - 1998 / United States)

Exorcism


I know who's scratching at the door.
Clock, there's no use yawning.
More than boards are loose in the floor—
I wasn't born this morning.

Beneath your gurgle, Water Tap,
I hear the water slither.
I know you well, Barometer,
and all your inner weather.

Soap, you're not all lather,
and Cane, you're more than stick.
I know who hangs on you, Clothes Hanger.
I know you, wicked Wick.

I hear your silence, Telephone.
I know your meaning, Saw.
O wily, absent-minded Fly,
I've heard your voice before.

I have turned about thrice,
blinded the mirror,
snipped the end of my laces
with a rusty scissors,

trod on my shadow,
strewn on my pillow
three seeds of the fern
and a leaf of the willow.

Be gone, ogre of the Candle,
djinn of the grinning Fire;
be gone, harpy of the Lintel,
worm of the winding Wire.

Cerberus of the Threshold,
run howling through the town;
imp of the Ingle, shrivel;
nymph of the Mirror, drown.

Die, demon of the Cupboard;
fly, spectre of the Stair;
and die, you lean Clock's warden
who whispers in my ear.

(Copyright © Jean Shapiro Cantu for the Estate of Robert Friend)

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004
Edited: Wednesday, January 05, 2005

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