Thursday, February 9, 2012

At Evans Street – Janet Frame

Focus on Frame!

At Evans Street – Janet Frame

I came one day upon a cream-painted wooden house
with a white bargeboard, a red roof, to gates,
two kinds of japonica bushes, one gooseberry bush,
one apple tree lately in blossom; and thus I counted
my fortune in gates and flowers, even in the white
bargeboard and the fallen roof beam crying religiously to the carpenter,
Raise me high! and in this part of the city that would be
High indeed for here my head is level with hills and sky.
It is not unusual to want somewhere to live but the impulse
bears thinking about seriously and it is wise
never to forget the permanent impermanence of the grave,
its clay floor, the molten centre of the earth, its untiled
roof, the rain and sunbeams arrowing through slit
windows and doors too narrow to escape through,
locked by the remote control of death-bed convulsions
in a warm room in a cream-painted wooden house
with a red roof, a white bargeboard, fallen roof beam…
no, it is not unusual
to nest at my time of year and life only it is wisest
to keep the spare room always for that unexpected guest, mortality
whose tall stories, growing taller, tell
of the sea-gull dwelling on bare cliffs, of eagles high
where the bailiff mountain wind removes all furniture (had
eagles known the need
for chairs by the fireside – what fire but sun?) and strips the hangings
from the trees; and the men, also, camouflaged as trees, who
climb the rock
face and of the skylark
from whose frenzied point of harvest is hurricane
and when
except in the world of men
did hurricanes provide shelter and food?

In my house I eat bread and wish the guest would go.

I found these poems in an old poetry anthology from school. Unfortunately there isn't a reference for where they originally came from.

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