We were sitting as usual by the window
gazing at the wintry trees;
You began to scream:
The house is under attack,
A storm is coming up!
The glass will shatter-
We’ll be stabbed.
We’ll be killed. I must get out
Looking out ,I saw only the calm bare branches
Of the maple
And two wood pigeons in the fir tree
were chuckling to each other.
The wind had not changed.
I know it’s midwinter with the bitter
breeze with an edge to it like a knife.
The sun low like lemonade in an almost emptied glass.
Semding light through the forsythia onto the old fence.
I turned to you puzzled
Reached out my hands to comfort;
But you shouted
as you got your thick coat out
and ran from the back door into the dark woods.
If there was real danger,why did you desert me?
Years later you told me of bad news you’d had.
Seemed like the inside and outside got confused.
I became, for you,a Fascist.
I was a flaxen Anglo-Saxon.
I was Hitler’s grand-daughter.
I was a descendant of the Borgias
A witch , a demon, a torturer.
You believed that
I would break my glass; cut your face
with the jagged edges amd laugh wildly.
Unlike in real science,
We can’t go back and repeat the experience
as if it were an experiment.
See if we were drawing the right conclusions
If you’d stayed a few minutes more
You might have realised
You were half asleep
Once gone,you’d never return
To the house where the glass broke
into shards and cut you to shreds.
And a possessed woman loved you.
I don’t blame you
We are often deceived by our imaginations
We see not what’s here
But what we most fear.
And flee the human contact
Which alone might help.
I always leave the door ajar
And some food on the kitchen table;
In case you come back hungry and tired.
It was your mind that shattered,not the glass…
And that’s much harder to mend.
But it can be done
If you stop fighting.
And let the inner seas flow free.
You need a hand
But it also frightens you,
And,besides, my hand is not strong enough to hold you.
Only to touch you gently
To say how sad I am.