Billy Collins raises the question,
what is a poet without a window?

And I quite agree,
what would I have to distil into
lines if it wasn't for the passing

of a garish leopard print cardigan in gold,
a blue-grey dog so thin it might be whisked
up into the air if there was any wind?

And what if there was no view
of the sea this morning
and instead I had to eat my toast looking

only at our rented white walls

 

 

Between two and three

We pressed shoulders together
to see into a small window with a deep,
white ledge gently leaning in.

We decided to go for it, I paid
was handed two tickets, in long strips
and we stepped up a stone step

worn in the middle from years
of soft carving by rubber soled shoes.
I knew you didn't want to be there

we should have found food before
trying to take in something new.
Photographs with rippled edges

steadily looked back at us
from behind glass
I read a small handwritten caption

about the sculptural quality
of driving for hours over the landscape
in a 1960's car.

Up another smoothed stone step
and out into a court yard
of spiked trees and huge cubed pieces of stone

hollowed out, I discovered fish in a pond,
orange with fright, at the sudden
covering from my shadow.

You placed yourself on a latticed
chair in a greenhouse, sat between
blossoming vines unaware

That I had a moment where I ran
my hand inside a crevice, looked
up at the clock tower marking time

and felt myself disappear.

 


 


Birthday Requirements


In dog years you are now three hundred
and ninety two, so I guess it is no surprise
that you don't have much to share

when perhaps, a bit too late
into the night, I call you.
There's not much that's feline

about you, but if there were the wildness
of your youth would have claimed
most of your nine chances by now.

And if you did have four legs
and a flaxen tail by now you would deserve
to be out-to-grass

for want of a kinder term.
So perhaps you are doing fine with a new
batch of tomato plants clambering

up the back wall, your bike chain
still oiled from your Saturday meander
and a book lying open on the table

as you stand in the darkened hall
listening to me down the phone.
 


 

 


Sunday, ten fifteen

 

No one else got up early to sink
their hands into hot soapy water,
set bacon in a pan,

Switch on the heat and listen
to the radio humming out tales
of sitting in the open doorway

of a train, pulling swiftly
through the fields of Kerala.
It was only me who saw

the weather trying to make up its mind
whether to give into the sun
or let the cloud covering stay

and keep to that full blue,
with all of the brightness
pushing through it, from behind.

 
    Lauren Witts 2009