For Poetics, we have special guest host today, Peter Frankis.
Hi everyone and greetings from Australia, it’s Peter here and I’m so pleased to be behind the bar at my favourite pub.
As the northern hemisphere inches into Autumn, here we’re just getting first hints of Spring after a long locked-down winter. I’m lucky enough to have a room for my writing with this view of my old collie, the mandarin tree and further off, the Pacific.
Like poems, windows frame a view, be it urban grunge or Arcadian meadows. And of course, there’s what we exclude. In this picture I haven’t shown you the steel works over the hill, the local shopping plaza or my neighbour Martin who loves his power saw on a Sunday afternoon (!) I also haven’t shown you the other side of the camera, the desk, the mess of papers, the bookshelf of disarray.
Poets have been using windows as inspiration for ages (a Google search gives over 67 million matches to the words ‘poem’ ‘window’). Supposedly, during the winter of 1960, when poet Sylvia Plath was stuck with writer’s block, her then husband Ted Hughes suggested she write about the view out her window. The masterpiece The Moon and the Yew Tree is the result.
Here’s American poet Denis Johnson’s poem…
Looking Out the Window
The sounds of traffic
die over the back lawn
to occur again in the low
The voices, risen, of
the neighbourhood cannot
maintain that pitch
and fail briefly, start
Similarly, my breathing rises
and falls while I look out
the window of apartment
number three in this slum,
hoping for rage, or sorrow…
(you can read all the poem here…)
Windows and memory
In contrast to Johnson’s noisy urban scene, windows can also step off into memory. Here’s a romantic lyric from one of my favourite Wollongong (Australia) poets, Kathleen Bleakley (from Kathleen’s new collection Letters available from Ginninderra Press).
how can the moon be full for so long?
from our illawarra balcony
looking out to sea
dubai over the creek
more of a port with cargo ships
and illuminated sky towers
first night together in malta
harbour with valletta’s domes & fortified town
returning to azure scapes
of my early years
ghostly through colosseum pillars
you’ve dreamt of visiting
illuminating the fairy tale marble church
for us in venice
lighting the gondola’s way
In this poem the window and the moon remain constant, yet the view moves across memory and time. Polish-American poet Czeslaw Milosz also explores shifting time.
I looked out the window at dawn and saw a young apple tree
translucent in brightness.
And when I looked out at dawn once again, an apple tree laden with
fruit stood there.
Many years had probably gone by but I remember nothing of what
happened in my sleep.
Today we have online meetings. For some of us, the people we used to hug or shake hands we can only meet on-line through screen windows on Zoom meetings or Facetime or Skype. This fragmentation and yearning offers much new material for us to write about.
Looking out the window
Finally, American poet Jane Hirshfield in her book ‘Ten Windows, How Great Poems Transform the World’ talks about the moment some poems ‘look out the window’ either to connect with nature or to turn away from difficult subjects. (Here’s her 2015 interview on National Public Radio.) For example, in this stanza from Henry Reed’s 1942 poem Naming of the Parts the poet turns to a flowering camellia for respite from the grimness of learning about a gun…
To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighbouring gardens,
And to-day we have naming of parts.
(You can read the full poem here)
New to dVerse? Here’s what you do:
- Take a photo of the view out your window
- Write a poem about it – what do you see, what’s missing, what don’t you see when you look out the window? what’s changed since this time last year?
- Include a link back to dVerse in your post.
- Post your poem along with the photo on your blog.
- enter a link directly to your poem and your name by clicking Mr. Linky below and remember to click the small checkbox about data protection.
- There you will find links to other poets, and more will join during the next few days so check back to read other entries.
- Read and comment on some of your fellow poets’ work as we all love to have our poems read.
- Comment and participate in our discussion below, if you like.
- Remember, have fun.
While you’re busy writing, I’ll put some music on:
From 1969 here’s The Four Tops with Look Out Your Window
Finally, if you get tired of your view why not look out some other windows at Window Swap ?
Peter Frankis is an Australian writer, living in the industrial town of Port Kembla south of Sydney. Recent poems have appeared Wild (Ginninderra Press) and online in Plumwood Mountain Journal, Vox Poetica and Vita Brevis.
Thanks so much to Peter for being our guest host. You got an amazing view!
Looking out from my window today, the sunshine is coming in, after days of rain.
Come on in and share a drink!
Thanks Grace, it’s an absolute pleasure – and I’m loving the writing at this bar today. Cheers.
Good morning,afternoon and evening dVerse poets, and g’day Peter! Thank you for hosting and for the prompt. Although my little study has windows to the back and side gardens, I usually have the blind down on the side window, and it’s the back where all the wildlife action happens, but I am very lucky with the views from all the windows. Normally, there is football on the pitch opposite our house, which we can see over the hedge from the front bedroom, and sometimes even kites and drones. It is quieter out the back, though, and in winter I can see through the branches to the river. I’m excited, and a bit nosy, about everyone’s views.
Hello Grace, Peter, and All. It’s a nice sunny day out there which makes for good photos out of the window. This is a prompt that will be fun to write to and very fun to see what others see when they look out of their windows. Peter, you have a view of the sea, a mandarin tree, and a fluffy furbaby. What more could anyone ask for? If you are pouring, a tall glass of Magners please.
Greetings everyone from chilly Australia – (and thanks for opening the bar for me Grace – it’s a little early here). Hope the view out your window is splendid today. I can’t wait to read all about it.
Vivian Zems said:
Greetings from London…and thanks for hosting!
Good day everyone, regardless of where you are! 😀 I really enjoyed this prompt today. I didn’t have much to go with from my window-view, so I indulged myself to a picture I took while traveling a couple years ago in a pre-pandemic world. I miss those times as I’m sure we all do.
I’m loving these poems and can’t wait to read more as they come in. Thank you again for the prompt, Peter. It’s lovely and innovative.
Hello, and thank you for hosting today, Peter! Thanks for all of the links. I will really enjoy checking them all out. I’ll be back later to post my own poem!
Interesting prompt. I’m looking forward to having a bit of a nose around.
We all spend a lot of time these days looking at life through various windows and Windows.
Hi Peter not noticed you here before … I grew up just down the road at Culburra! May have to write about the view out that window at the family home when I get back … busy day today 🙂
Gorgeous place (still) Culburra – a bit blowy this morning though.
lol you down there now? I’m up near Lismore, that was where I grew up so often driven past your place along the highway …
Beverly Crawford said:
Great prompt and opportunity for us to peek into the world of our fellow poets. I featured our back yard feeder in my poem for Meet the Bar this week, but our avian friends always provide fodder for writing. I believe it’s early morning in your world, as our day is winding down. I’d like a Bloody Mary when you’ve finished your morning tea, though!
Mother Wintermoon said:
Great prompt, Peter!! Thank you. 🙏
Victoria C. Slotto said:
Thank you for a nice prompt, Peter. It’s so good to be here after a way-too-long absence, but life has a way of offering surprises and throwing curve balls.
So glad you could join in again.
It’s the monsoon season in India and the view in the city is all about clouds and the rejuvenated greenery.
Here’s my Haiku for the same. Hope you like it. 🙏😊
Hello! Your link in Mr. Linky and in this comment are not showing up. You can edit to the link to the poem post itself (not your blog name) in Mr Linky. Thank you.
Thanks Grace and Peter. Just the right prompt for this month’s moon! (K)
Enjoyed that. Thank you, Peter.
Linda Lee Lyberg said:
Hello All- sorry for the late arrival- dr. appointment. Peter- thank you for hosting and giving us a wonderful prompt with some lovely poems! I’ll be around to read after I run some errands. Have a wonderful day all.
Thanks Peter, for an inspiring page all round. In your examples I found some poets I didn’t know. What an education dVerse is. Makes me so happy I found it.
Hello Peter and all, It was raining last night and I was sitting on the terrace when the muse for the poem I’ve submitted fell over my head! I hope you’d enjoy it. Thank you for hosting, I really liked window swap website! thanks again for sharing that..
Riverside Peace said:
Nice to meet you Peter. I spent my childhood in Lake Heights and my husband grew up in Warilla so I now the region well. 🙂
I’m new to dVerse so I’m just visiting to see how everything works. I’m learning a lot just by reading posts and clicking links.