2when the north wind slams against the house
3and downpipes shudder and whistle,
4I climb steep attic steps to find
5heart in a blank window.
6A spindly chalkmark splits
7the night's black sea
8into two pools that wash
9their water lights against the dark
10and steep it in reflected depth.
11Half in that shining face, half in
12the mind's dark gleam,
13I see a house -- mud hut
14or boulder-stacked hovel, packed or scooped
15from stubborn, primal rubble.
16A thatched sty, its floor dug out
17in mean husbandry of warmth and toil,
18it sits below eye level:
19door a black hole,
20slit window in eclipse.
21Inside, however, even November's
22lead sky explodes
23like lightning
24through the framed chink --
25hatch of a starburst, boxed galaxy.
26Think of the heart
27it took to cut that window
28when a rigging of sticks in the firepit
29kept death at bay: an age of tamed fire
30curling in corners, scourge of the cold when thrown
31wood scraps, licking up dark with nibbled
32tallow, but easy prey
33to a puff of wind.
34They risked their fire
35to catch a spark from the sky's wick.
36"Eyethurl," the age's
37word for window, having
38no commerce with the deadly wind:
39an eyehole drilled through stone to join
40the mind's eye with the sky's.


1] eyethurl: ."An eye-hole, a window." (OED). Back to Line
Publication Notes: 
Morning Watch (Montreal: Véhicule Press, 1995): 14.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire