This old inn, supposedly haunted, with its drawing room Of Victorian brick & brack, its acanthus-leaved plaster, and neat Half-ring of chairs around the piano would be the perfect Place for the recital I’ve planned of all my omitted sins. That’s art, you see, that’s song—not I’ll tell my tale As though ’twere none of mine, but its mere mirror’s Silver lining: I didn’t do anything (no blame), but desire Knows all guilt’s pleasure of saying exactly what I did Not. You see, I studied with the great monologuists, the silent ones Whose gestures simply continued behind the scrims When the talkies came in, becoming all nuance, a dialogue Of shadows that more colorful confessions hardly illuminate. But it was illumination that came to me, in a room Like this one, a little intimidating, a little too elegant, A place, in other words, to which I might aspire, and if I lied right away, sang like a canary, to talk my way in, Well I was hardly the first false witness to bear and get better Than I gave, measure for measure: between the bar lines, These black flecks of melody a voice might join and join, Or the mirror of a voice. That’s art, like I said, Sprechstimme, that’s song, almost, different from life, and better And not, and longer. As long as it is wrong.