William Jay Smith

1918 / Louisiana, USA

The Floor And The Ceiling

Winter and summer, whatever the weather,
The Floor and the Ceiling were happy together
In a quaint little house on the outskirts of town
With the Floor looking up and the Ceiling looking down.

The Floor bought the Ceiling an ostrich-plumed hat,
And they dined upon drippings of bacon fat,
Diced artichoke hearts and cottage cheese
And hundreds of other such delicacies.

On a screen-in porch in early spring
They would sit at the player piano and sing.
When the Floor cried in French, 'Ah, je vous adore!'
The Ceiling replied, 'You adorable Floor!'

The years went by as the years they will,
And each little thing was fine until
One evening, enjoying their bacon fat,
The Floor and the Ceiling had a terrible spat.

The Ceiling, loftily looking down,
Said, 'You are the lowest Floor in this town!'
The Floor, looking up with a frightening grin,
Said, 'Keep up your chatter, and you will cave in!'

So they went off to bed: while the Floor settled down,
The Ceiling packed up her gay wallflower gown;
And tiptoeing out past the Chippendale chair
And the gateleg table, down the stair,

Took a coat from the hook and hat from the rack,
And flew out the door - farewell to the Floor! -
And flew out the door, and was seen no more,
And flew out the door, and never came back!

In a quaint little house on the outskirts of town,
Now the shutters go bang, and the walls tumble down;
And the roses in summer run wild through the room,
But blooming for no one - then why should they bloom?

For what is a Floor now that brambles have grown
Over window and woodwork and chimney of stone?
For what is a Floor when a Floor stands alone?
And what is a Ceiling when the Ceiling has flown?
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