Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Outside, Looking In

Brown leaves blow against glass tap silently for entrance.
Titmice shuffle, hoard beechnuts,
eyes squinting, wary.  Inside
a summer cabin safe from snow
and ice, the rocker sways
in winter's draft, unconcerned.

Wolves whine, tails tucked,
and run from the night. 
The hearth and ashes heave
with life; the rug lies bunched
in a corner, warm as a cub
in sunshine. A lamp lights
a rolltop desk.  On its top
a book lies open, pages
smudged with damp caresses,
the back worn down with care. 

The clock chimes time
to twilight, its white face
a somber hour, safe
from outer waters
which try to rust its gears. 
At the door, the lock
clasps firmly, holds
when the knob is twisted.

In the wind, leaves
around me, my face tight
against the window,
I stand, guarding empty
havens, outside,
looking in.

****

I wrote the above poem back in the 1980s, while I was an undergraduate at Hollins. The somewhat desolate day and the oak leaves clinging to the trees made me think of it. I may have revised once since I first wrote it, but I have made no changes to it in years. On reflection, I don't think it's the best poem I ever wrote, but it isn't the worst, either. I think I liked it more when I was younger and in a different place in my life.

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