7.16.2006

Happy Sunday

To save you the trouble of clicking on the Poetry Daily link at the top of this page, I've lifted today's exquisite poem, by David Barber.


To the Trespasser


A quiet akin to ruins —
another contracted hillside, another split-level
fretting the gloaming with its naked beams.

The workmen have all gone home.
The blueprints are curled in their tubes.
The tape measure coils in its shell.

And out he comes, like a storybook constable
making the rounds. There, where the staircase
stops short like a halting phrase,

there, where a swallow circles and dips
through the future picture window, he inspects
the premises, he invites himself in.

There he is now: the calculating smacks
of a palm on the joints and rails,
the faint clouds of whispered advice.

For an hour he will own the place.
His glasses will silver over as he sizes up
the quadrant earmarked for the skylight.

Back then, the houses went up in waves.
He called on them all; he slipped through walls.
Sometimes his son had to wait in the car.

So I always know where I can place him
when I want him at one with himself, at ease:
there, in the mortgaged half-light;

there, where pinches of vagrant sawdust
can collect in his cuffs and every doorframe
welcomes his sidelong blue shadow;

anywhere his dimming form can drift at will
from room to room while dinner's going cold —
a perfect stranger, an auditioning ghost.


David Barber
Wonder Cabinet
TriQuarterly Books

9 comments:

Anne-Davnes said...

Beautiful portrait of the person in his environment. Makes me want to write one for every person I love or miss or can't quite figure out.

minus five said...

i'm glad you posted this so i didn't have to go over to poetry daily this morning. that was a huge help for my already tight schedule.

Biggy said...

yeah, you and me both Sarah.

Tania Rochelle said...

Anything I can do to make your lives easier.

Anne-Davnes said...

Oh you guys are so MEAN. Petty and angry, spiteful people. I try to say something nice and look what happens. I really think you should take a closer look at yourselves and keep your anger in check. Either that or go see a therapist.

Tania Rochelle said...

Minus-Five and Biggy are going to get themselves evicted.

minus five said...

ouch, anne. biggy and i were just joking around. see how funny we are? tania won't evict us. her life depends on our humor.

Tania Rochelle said...

That's pretty much true.

MCALDWELLC said...

I've got the name of a great therapist if anyone needs one...seriously, it's time to let go of the past and that nasty anger...

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