Tuesday, April 20, 2010

outside time

outside time

from a distance
all i could see
was the soft
silvered fingers
of a stand of birch

the cabin was tucked away.
its weathered pine siding
discretely into the forest.

walking closer
it was obvious
that it had been abandoned.

is there anything
and yet more promising
than a forgotten shelter?

a place to escape time.

a muffled knocking sound
that could have been a lazy woodpecker
turned out to be a shutter that had come loose
solemnly tapping its wind-driven morse
into the side of the cabin.

it was hard to know
what prompted me to kick the door in.

the flimsy door
the cobweb-covered windows
the yellowing lace curtains.

the sound
of the splintering doorframe
was swallowed up
in the rustling of bushes
the creaking of trees
and the sudden anxious cawing of crows.

and then just as suddenly
there was
silence as i stepped
over the worn wooden threshold

the air
hovered thickly
like a silted stream
and shimmering
with dust motes
swirling in the sudden inrush of air

a pale yellow
filtered sunlight -
overlaid the grey scale
of the simple wooden furniture.

i pushed the door closed

and stood
in the centre of the room
the dust settle
back into soft grey drifts

in the corner
a small table
set with
two small
china plates

fogged with time

by one plate
a pewter

i walked over and picked it up
felt its weight
felt the slight
movement of its
tiny hands



nollyposh said...

This is a wonderful piece X:-)

Linda Sue said...

Over the top brilliant! Every line EVERY LINE! And i can see , feel that cabin, the mustiness, the still air in there, the "maybe" of it all. The watch!!! I found my mother's watch in her urn the other day- I held it and for about two minutes -it ticked. Stopped, never to tick again. You are so tapped into the ethers that you bring back all sorts of info for us to read in your poems! Magic man! Awesome poem and vision.

Rachel Fenton said...

This is fantastic! I was there - miss Haversham's Canadian hideaway! Loved the birch imagery and the surprise of kicking down the door.

Rima said...

Absolutely brilliant :)

The Weaver of Grass said...

I loved this Steven. It evoked such a feeling of peace and of the past. I get similar feelings when I visit old buildings where the steps are worn down by countless feet from the past. Absolutely beautifully described.

acornmoon said...

This is just like a dream I had once, spooky!

Elisabeth said...

This could be a memory, Steven a dream, or pure imagination, whatever. It reads beautifully. I can see it all in my mind's eye - the door, the room, the pocket watch stopped in time. Wonderful. Thanks.

willow said...

I'm always intrigued by abandoned houses and barns, and wonder at the stories they have to tell. Lovely piece, Steven! Thanks for hopping into Magpie! xx

steven said...

hello nolly - thankyou. steven

steven said...

linda sue - you could tell many people the story of your mother's watch and they would have something similar to share about picking up a watch and it starting and then stopping in their hands. what is that? what's actually happening? thanks for your generous comment. steven

steven said...

rachel thankyou very much. i was surprised i kicked down the door as well. steven

steven said...

rima! hello. thankyou. i'm glad you enjoyed your time here. steven

steven said...

weaver thankyou so much. it's so hard to write. it doesn't come easily to me but that's part of why i write these blogs - to try and tap into the flow of telling what i see in my mind. have a lovely day in the dale. steven

steven said...

now acornmoon that's a dangle. you must tell somewhere somehow!! steven

steven said...

elisabeth - it's got one memory and then a cloud of imagination mixed into its little body. thanks for your generous comment. steven

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Well, you've turned us into willing accomplices to a B&E on the door, but a minor misdemeanour was worth it when considering what a time halting moment you share with us there amidst in the dritfs of dust at the end. Really brilliant, Steven.

steven said...

good point lorenzo! about the b and e i mean!! thankyou for your kind comment. steven

steven said...

willow - i am drawn to old buildings for that very reason. there are stories waiting to be teased out, waiting to be told. they're hovering in the air, trapped in the cupboards, burnished into the worn wood. hthanks for hosting this lovely piece. steven

Sh@KiR@ CK said...

I own a few antiques of my Dad too . I do not like to wonder about them.
Love your piece.
You are a very prolific writer.
mine is here
this is my first magpie tale.
have you a great week.

steven said...

hey shakira, thanks for visiting and leaving your thoughts. this is my third magpie tale. when i see the image willow posts i wait and listen to what happens in my head. does a story show up or not. then i write all the phrases of the story. then i free-associate into my notebook and see if anything else emerges. then i write and rewrite and really it could go on for a long time but i stop it when the deadline arrives!!! see you. steven

jinksy said...

Very intense vignette you created here in that time out of time space.

Reya Mellicker said...

Wow! This is incredible, Steven. I felt scared and excited, reading this. Felt like I went to Fairyland for a minute which (according to the fairytales) can be a whole lifetime in this world.

You have such magic in you. Wow.

Helen said...

Honestly great!

Aoife.Troxel said...

WOW! By far the best Magpie I've read yet barring my own (just kidding). The images stay with you a while after you have read it, and you are there with the narrator. Such great descriptions...just wow. Seriously.

Friko said...

this sounds absolutely real and magically, mysteriously, unreal at the same time.


hope said...

You did that so well, I felt as if I was standing behind you, waiting on my turn to hold the watch. :)

steven said...

reya there's a story inside this little piece of writing. as soon as i started to write it i felt it there. but i haven't got the time or the personal space right now to let it happen. the entire piece floated across my consciousness as a piece. just like a dream. entirely clear. i was anxious that the words wouldn;t say what i saw. i'm still uncertain that it's clear but the comments are very supportive and strong so i'm going with that for now. i'm hoping to let this and my last piece for willow's writing blog emerge sometime in the future. steven

steven said...

helen - honestly! thankyou very much. steven

steven said...

aoife, thankyou. i really enjoyed your writing to this prompt as well. steven

steven said...

friko like a dream it flew through me - real and detailed. fast and extremely slow all at once. thankyou so much for your kind comment. steven

steven said...

hope thankyou. i don't know why the watch stopped. but it did. steven

C.M. Jackson said...

oh no! you can't stop there! Absolutely beautifully drawn and timed for the perfect ending..but please write more...great magpie!

Diana (Diane) Maria said...

You create quite a visual experience. I enjoyed this a lot!

Joanna said...

I so love the experience of being in abandoned buildings. The dreams of the people who built them, the drama of life that went on and the sorrow of the leaving. It's so profound. You captured it well Steven. Did this really happen? Was this watch really something you found there?

joanny said...


What an interesting cadence this story had -- it came in waves -- one never know from one moment to the next what was going to happen, then you kicked the door in...adding a startling affect to the reader, wondering what was going to happen next?, what was he looking for? what will he discovery? as he held the watch in his hand --time stood still marking the time of the old building -- a nice metaphor.

Dan Gurney said...

Wow. Thank you steven, for the dreamlike journey into a cabin the the woods outside of time. Your new page redesign was the perfect setting for this.

steven said...

hello c.m.! thanks for your enthusiasm! i know there's more there but i haven't the time or space to write it. yet. steven

steven said...

hey diana thankyou. i'm really pleased that you enjoyed this little piece. steven

steven said...

hi joanna - thanks for your thoughtful comment. this didn't really happen but there was one circumstance that was very close. it happened once when i was attending a camp and we were on an overnight hike and got lost. some of the visuals from that were in my head when this little story trundled through!!! steven

steven said...

hi joanny, thanks for this thoughtful and helpful comment. i'm not a writer and so it really helps me to get perspective on whatever it is i'm doing here when visitors point out some of the architecture as well as the stylistic elements to me. steven

steven said...

hey dan thanks so much!!! i sometimes wish i was a writer. i like the times when things are all there and the words almost tell their own story! steven