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The Missouri Review 30.3 (2007) 85-87

Red Window Poems
Kerry Hardie
[Meet the Author]

first waking

the red window is open
an island drifts past
on a sea as tranquil
as one of those mornings in childhood
which may or may not have existed
in a time you no longer remember
but where all that you
now fear or love

the island floats by
as you lie there studying the frame
of this window that shatters the wall
as living has shattered your life
letting the light
pour in


a fly-past of gannets
across the square window
great birds
their cruciform shape
laid flat on the sea
the ink-dipped tips
of their ivory wings
yet sometimes his boot
finds a wreckage of bird
half-covered in wrack
and a silting of sand
dun-grey and fine
fine bones pushing through [End Page 85]
and small crawling things

"and consolation forsakes a man"*

what do we do
at such times?
such times which arrive

one morning to wake to the window
its frame painted red
a shining day floating beyond

yet the window
is only
a window
the red of its frame
only red
and the dog that looks up—
the thump of her tail in the sunlight—
is only a dog

then consolation has truly
forsaken a man
and all he can do
is wait without hope
that those things that spoke to his heart
will find voice again

then he can live in the world again [End Page 86]

when consolation returns

it plods in the suck of the mud
where the stubborn-haunched cattle
stumble and slide
through the stones of the broken fields

it sits on the green wooden chair
that the Dutchman had carried outside
to set down facing the sea
in that hour when the morning had promised

it blows in the low sea-rain
and seeps in fine drops
from the stranded wool
caught on the barbs of the fence

when consolation returns
it returns in the guise of love which is also pain


* From "Transparence du Monde" by Jean Follain, translated by W.S. Merwin



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pp. 85-87
Launched on MUSE
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