Fall 1989 • Vol. XI No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 1989 |

Pope’s House

Everything goes like clockwork in Pope's house. Outdoors, I watch a ridge go up in smoke. In here, it's calm. Everything's methodical. There's not a sound. I've never seen lumber milled as mercilessly as this. The couplets are like good boards, they mate, they're pressed that tight, sanded down and varnished to a sheen. This is a puzzle in which each piece is made the same—lined up like pews—in which they click together, tongue in groove. It's dull. There's nothing dangerous to do. The clock's so loud you'd like to break the clock, and yet you can't. Somehow there's always something there that holds you back. You might, in the afternoon, make a modest, perfunctory kind of love; it would be functional. But even if you were capable of passion or did you dare let a curse fly; should you despair or yell or hit somebody or merely disturb the position of a chair you would soon regret it. The butler would be there, ready to restore the furniture back to its proper order and to turn on

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By Jonathan Holden

Everything goes like clockwork in Pope's house. Outdoors, I watch a ridge go up in smoke. In here, it's calm. Everything's methodical. There's not a sound. I've never seen lumber […]

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