Robert Frost

The Kitchen Chimney

Builder, in building the little house, In every way you may please yourself; But please please me in the kitchen chimney: Don’t build me a chimney upon a shelf. However far you must go for bricks, Whatever they cost a-piece or a pound, But me enough for a full-length chimney, And build the chimney clear from the ground. It’s not that I’m greatly afraid of fire, But I never heard of a house that throve (And I know of one that didn’t thrive) Where the chimney started above the stove. And I dread the ominous stain of tar That there always is on the papered walls, And the smell of fire drowned in rain That there always is when the chimney’s false. A shelf’s for a clock or vase or picture, But I don’t see why it should have to bear A chimney that only would serve to remind me Of castles I used to build in air.