Monday, May 6, 2013

"Choices" by Elizabeth Jennings


Inside the room I see the table laid,
Four chairs, a patch of light the lamp has made

And people there so deep in tenderness
They could not speak a word of happiness.

Outside I stand and see my shadow drawn
Lengthening the clipped grass of the cared-for lawn.

Above, their roof holds half the sky behind.
A dog barks bringing distances to mind.

Comfort, I think, or safety then, or both?
I warm the cold air with my steady breath.

They have designed a way to live and I,
Clothed in confusion, set their choices by:

Though sometimes one looks up and sees me there,
Alerts his shadow, pushes back his chair

And, opening windows wide, looks out at me
And close past words we stare.  It seems that he

Urges my darkness, dares it to be freed
Into that room.  We need each other’s need.

Source of the text – Eleven British Poets, an Anthology Edited by Michael Schmidt.  London: Methuen & Co., 1980, p. 116.

Bourguignomicon: The willing outcast-poet uses prepositions to set tight iambic couplets on the need of everyone else to have an other out there, looking in.

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