by kvennarad

“All around me the city looked ripe with dying.” John Irving, The World According to Garp.


In summer the houses with yellow

lighted windows and open doors

pour out music. You think you know

her but you don’t. It’s natural at this

time of year to admire grace and agility,

especially when girls vie with new growth


on the fruit trees. Over-ripe is the word

the poet uses about herself too often,

although that’s surely for later, at a time

when there’s something to compare with.

“My decision to marry was partly to prove

a point.” The light and the sound combine,


the light falling on the feet of a dancing

girl. A madman is merely someone who

has deliberately abandoned civilization

in favour of walking perpetually into

light and sound; madness is therefore a

measure of quantity rather than quality,


the hand being insane if it carries out

something wrong, the head being sane

if it recognises that wrong. A poet may

claim that all her poems are the same

poem and all tell the story of her life,

but how do you know she is speaking


the truth? Yellow roses remind us of

sunshine, but the sea is never reflected

in the character of any other thing.

“I once loved a woman with all my heart

except for the part which is iron; I once

loved you.” The wholeness of vanity.


Music and light, May to July, hand to

foot, constancy and quicksilver, all

these seem to be exclusive, but each

is in fact wedded to its opposite.

No more grace, and yet the last party

visitor is sitting there on the front step.


jupiterNow the poem’s over and done with, knock me off my perch. ©Marie Marshall