Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Lit Windows

This poem is from Glyn Maxwell's latest collection Hide Now:

Lit Windows

When I go home again,
when I know so many homes, but I mean the home
with the longest vowel, when I wander the old realm,
I pass them on the lane,
boys turned to men,

so I turn back to a boy
to pass them saying nothing. For it's death
to be where one is not, where every breath
is a heaving of the oars
alone at sea.

I could grow white and old
and I will, I am well aware, grow white and old
looking through lit windows of the world
for people in their rooms;
for the blue, cold

light of a TV on
in an empty room . . . girl at a light so bright
she's silhouette . . . a man who hangs his coat
and stands quite still . . . a mother
agrees with someone

over cake . . . the frosted light
of suppertime, of bathtime, of sex.
I don't have what I have from reading books
but stopping by your homes
to see these sights

and wondering forever
who is someone else? Who on earth
are all these people to have known this with,
this world? Whole skies of stars
are a lesser wonder

than all your lights at evening,
all your lives. When the lights go out I'm there,
moving on. When it's dark the stars are clear,
their immaterial eyes
believing, disbelieving.

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