Sunday, February 13, 2011

every window a wall, every wall a window

followers of my other blog "flow" will be familiar with this piece of writing as i left it there a little while ago.


norman clark from an upstairs window


i am
sent outside
to play

sunday morning
even the sun is cold

behind me my mother
watches from the upstairs window
her sight of me
framed
by cream and butter-yellow curtains
now coal soot grey
and soft with dust

.

i like to let my sight of the world
be framed
by the garden walls

each moss-coated brick
has stories
of migrations
flowerings
fairy tales

but even the walls are silent

caught
like me
in the hollowness
of this day

.

the ground is frost hardened
and tumbling with hummocky grass

if my grandfather were still here
it would have flattened
under the weight
of his lawn roller
each blade
would have known the tidy snick of his shears

.

the sudden flapping of wings
draws my eyes skyward
to where tendril branches
grope across the grey expanse
each in search of its opposite

the wind is creating the music for a sort of dance
and i find my own arms and legs
waving and flailing
until
self-conscious
i stop and slowing my breathing
pat the dog's head

he looks up at me
with his orange-brown eyes
as if seeking something in me

if he could speak
i feel certain
he'd explain so much of all of this

the cold finds its way past my clothes
so i turn and open the door to the shed

inside
the darkness is comforting
a single window leaks light
onto workbenches
furred with shavings

the sweet smells of cedar
and machine oiled metal
weave in orange and blue threads

i sit on the floor
and think of my father
and my grandfather

they worked here

both dreamed of the inexplicable immensity
of this place

this world of worlds
within and without

bisected by the single thin thread of work

sitting on the floor
of the wooden shed
i sit still and listen
to the sounds
rising from other gardens

17 comments:

aguja said...

There is no comment - only that I absorbed it all and became immersed in the scene, the thoughts and the fascination of the title.

Dulce said...


A garden so full of history and stories, so full of peace and love and oh that complete awareness of the observer leaves the reader at awe.
Love the windows and what they have to offer.
IOW Loved it, Steven!
D.

Reya Mellicker said...

Every morning I open the window of my computer to come and visit your world. You open windows with words, photos, paintings.

Thank you!

Pauline said...

the whole poem is a like a small, intimate movie but this particular bit paints such a concrete picture of a child

"The wind is creating the music for a sort of dance
and i find my own arms and legs
waving and flailing
until
self-conscious
i stop and slowing my breathing
pat the dog's head"

steven said...

hello aguja - thankyou for your comment! it isn't always necessary to leave a comment although i enjoy and appreicate them. sometimes it works to pass through. steven

steven said...

dulce yes. there are so many stories in that garden. in that child. steven

steven said...

reya - i experience much the same when i open up my world in the morning. it's amazing that there is so much freely available if you're available to it. steven

steven said...

pauline - that particular segment of the writing was for me the pivot of the words that came to hand. it's about that self-conscious containment that subtly frames our experiencing of the world. i'm glad you were able to share it with me. steven

ellen abbott said...

a thoughtful piece.

Linda Sue said...

Thank you for taking us there- The fragrance of the earth, the cedar and even the dog's head make this experience so real for the reader...me.
The "if he was still here" evidenced by the ground having not been rolled smooth made me miss all of the grandfather's, terribly- it's the little things, seemingly unimportant, that puncture the heart and stir memories.
Thank you for the vivid feel- this seems now like my experience too, and I love it- so rich.

Dan Gurney said...

As a child, I often thought as you did:

if he could speak
i feel certain
he'd explain so much of all of this

These day, almost 60, I feel that way again, but even moreso about plants than animals, but really everyone who share this web of life with us has much to teach.

Short Poems said...

Beautiful poem.... loved your creative write :0
All the best
Marinela x

steven said...

hello marinela! thankyou very much. there is a story contained in the writing but i haven't had the time to tease it out yet. i'm really wishing for that to happen so perhaps one day . . . . thankyou for visiting. steven

steven said...

dan - i'm pulling up on 54 and i listen to almost anything as i realize that all things come from the same place and point in the same direction. steven

steven said...

linda sue - i hold (and so do you and all people) so much of the people who have passed through my life and whose lives i have passed through. there are little signs and symbols, little treasures and gifts that are left behind. i don't believe they are accidental or will-o-the-wisp sort of leavings either. i think they are left with us to remember and then to know and then to share. thanks for your lovely comment. steven

steven said...

ellen - i thought about it more after i wrote it than before or during. but there was thought!!! steven

Linda said...

I think every inch of space around us holds a memory. And it doesn't seem to matter if it's good, bad or inconsequential. They are our memories and I cherish mine. It's the "golden" part of growing old i think. You have so very many memories of things. Life becomes rich. The person in your poem is off to a great start.

Send those reports off and relax a little later on. You will be able to breathe again and it will feel good. =D