THE WELL-MADE DOOR
There’s much to be said for the well-made door.
This one, smoked black by time, hangs like a heavyweight,
shuffles through his quarter-turn singing deep
of the long years, of a conspiracy once of oak and iron:
studs and hinges, chamfered panels, bolts and latch.
Speaking too of what it is to witness:
the quotidian passage of the unwary child who swings in passing,
left hand yielding to right hand round the circle handle,
intimate, even loving for that moment that she dances
out of dimness into brilliant light,
every candle in the hall a celebrant.
People turn and smile and turn away again and the candles gutter,
each in its turn, sending up a thread of smoke towards
the unregarded ceiling high above the vaulting beams,
black with smoke and time.
And the door stands ajar, poised in its prescripted journey,
something of the dusk of the outer chamber
tainted by the dying light beyond.
This until the old man, remembering the book he left behind,
lifts a burning candle high and –
slow, a little circumspect, but steady, book under arm –
steps from waning light into the dark beyond
and shuts the door.
EVERY DOOR HAS ITS VOICE
Every door has its voice and every voice speaks its single word
into the singing bowl through the days.
Hear each time that importunate tongue kissing
the word ‘closed’ into a brass mouth.
And hear too in memory the voice that calls,
and the voice that answers,
“We’re in the kitchen!”.
And then hear too the voice
that gasps its severance from enclosure,
mouth tugged open, jaw ajar. Then ‘closed’.
This is the voice that
doesn’t call “Goodbye”.