“I must ask you to imagine a room, like many thousands, with a window looking across people’s hats and vans and motor-cars to other windows, and on the table inside the room a blank sheet of paper on which was written ….” A Room of One’s Own
So goes Virginia Woolf’s treatise on the need for women writers to have a room of one’s own but that is not the point of today’s Poetics. Rather it is just one example of how often room/rooms features in literature and poetry. Here is John Updike’s ‘Chambered Nautilus’
“How many rooms one occupies to lead
a life! – the child’s small cell, within earshot
of his parents’ smothered moans; the college room
assigned by number, a poster-clad outpost
of freedom, the married man’s bedchamber,
cramped scene of glad possession and sneaking sorrow…”
The poet leads us through the stages of man, as personified by the chambers of a nautilus which as it grows shuts off one chamber in its shell and moves into the next.
In a similar vein, Charlotte Mew’s “Rooms” moves through locales from memory but summoning their place in an intimacy that grows colder.
“I remember rooms that have had their part
In the steady slowing down of the heart.
The room in Paris, the room at Geneva,
The little damp room with the seaweed smell,
And that ceaseless maddening sound of the tide—
Rooms where for good or for ill—things died.
But there is the room where we (two) lie dead,
Though every morning we seem to wake and might just as well seem to sleep again
As we shall somewhere in the other quieter, dustier bed
Out there in the sun—in the rain.”
Taking it one step further Imtiaz Dharker conjures a fantastical metaphor from the real experience of having parts of a ceiling fall down on her in “This Room”
“This room is breaking out
of itself, cracking through
its own walls
in search of space, light,
The bed is lifting out of
From dark corners, chairs
are rising up to crash through clouds.
This is the time and place
to be alive:
when the daily furniture of our lives
stirs, when the improbable arrives…”
I was surprise to find that I too have written about rooms, though I ‘d quite forgotten this one “Keeping a Distance”
“why burrow? what should I want to know
of long- ago rooms in ruins; all those faraway feelings
that ran their course and fossilised
memories will naturally annex themselves
after all, what’s recalled is squarely placed
between tall walls or hidebound
in backlots, …”
For today’s poetry prompt I’m asking us to conjure a room or rooms in the literal, functional, metaphorical, imaginary, and/or fantastical sense
Rooms often feature in dreams so if you are stuck for ideas try The Meaning of Rooms in Dreams
There is no restriction on rhyme or style
If you use any part of the above poems as inspiration remember to cite it.
Once you have published your poem, add it to the Linky widget and leave a comment below. Then go visiting, reading and sharing your thoughts with other contributors which is half the fun of our dVerse gatherings.