In the Frame

On this August day,
the breeze
ripples green leaves
in the quince, plum
and willow trees,
buffeting an army
of tall stinging nettles.

Inside the shed,
greyed by weather and age,
the brambles are uprising,
sharp-thorned and striving
to escape; they’ve broken
a window and are prising
the door from its frame.

A white plastic chair
leans against the compost bin,
punk and pretty vacant,
rendered redundant
all through pandemic spring,
like everyone else,
impatiently waiting.

Quietly trembling below
the bottom of the window,
the tops of potato plants,
sparsely flowered in their grow
bags, offer a polite reminder
to the poet gardener (out
of frame) that they need water.

And the rotary drier
waits for its arms to be raised,
in silent prayer
for a load of damp washing
to dance on its frame again,
for sunshine and a warm breeze
instead of clouds and warm rain.

Kim M. Russell, 4th August 2020

In the Frame (3)

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Looking out the window

This Tuesday, behind the bar we have Peter from Australia, where they are just getting their first glimpse of spring after a long locked-down winter.

Peter says that, like poems, windows frame a view, excluding some things that we can normally see beyond the frame, and on the other side of the camera. He adds that poets have been using windows as inspiration for ages, for example, Sylvia Plath’s masterpiece, ‘The Moon and the Yew Tree’ and Denis Johnson’s poem, ‘Looking out the Window’.

He says that windows can step off into memory, and shares poems by Australian poet Kathleen Bleakley and Polish-American poet Czeslaw Milosz, which do just that, as well as a stanza from Henry Reed’s 1942 poem ‘Naming of the Parts’.

So, for today’s poetics we’re taking photos of the views from our windows and writing poems about them: what we see, what’s missing, what don’t we see and what’s changed since this time last year.

I’ve gone for a concrete, possibly ekphrastic poem, that looks out of my study window at a view some of you already know from previous photographs and poems.

61 thoughts on “In the Frame

  1. That’s a lovely garden you have written there – full of life and tasks for the gardener/poet. The punk garden chair is a great image (I might pinch that one 🙂) along with the uprising brambles. Hope the sun shines and the wind blows for you real soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Peter! You are welcome to pinch the punk chair (metaphorically) and I look forward to reading what you do with it. 🙂 We have sun and a strong wind today, so the rotary drier will get some action!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim, it is so great to see a picture of your yard after reading about it in your poems. Those brambles don’t play! Your place has a wildness that brings nature right to you. Great poem and I love the part about the gentle reminder about watering to the poet out of the frame 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Jade! Our little wilderness is very special. This is the first year I’ve tried growing veggies and I hope to have some raised beds next year to increase the variety and size of crops. We’ve been tidying up a lot, to increase the amount of sun. I know have a lovely clear patch at the side of the house that would be perfect for raised beds. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sarah! I’m so often on my own that I have a special relationship with the punk chair and the rebellious brambles – and like Prince Charles, I talk to my plants!


  3. My long-time Australian pen pal and I had a long ago discussion about the fact that rotary driers are still used in z. Since the advent of electric dryers, clothes lines have totally disappeared from the American landscape except perhaps in some rural areas. I miss the wonderful smell of laundry dried in sunshine.
    Beautiful poem, Kim.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have created a poetic masterpiece with one glance out your window. The words are so descriptive that I could see the image before I scrolled down to the photo. A wonderful read.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love how you gave characters to the things you see out of the window, the waiting, the anticipation of action – shed, window, chair, rotary drier. I pray for that much needed sunshine again, after the rain and clouds.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Grace. I am very fond of my rickety old shed and the rotary drier, although at some point, the shed will have to be demolished. Today is sunny but breezy, and the drier will be seeing some action again tomorrow!


    1. It’s partly because we live by a river and partly because of the shade from so many trees and large shrubs. But we also have a septic tank with a soak-away, which makes it very fertile. It’s too damp for many plants, even though the willow soaks up a lot of the water, and the weeds and nettles love it, so they throttle anything else. The veggies in pots are doing well though. Raised beds next year, I hope. The rotary drier was fully employed yesterday and having fun with a strong breeze!


      1. The trees are suffering here. Too little rain and the farmers pump the watercourses dry. There’s barely a trickle in the stream though this time last year there was nothing at all. Can’t have everything. I do miss the green though.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Just love this. It very much reflects the realism school of poetry which is one of my favorites. (all you need is a red wheelbarrow. I especially love these lines:
    And the rotary drier
    waits for its arms to be raised,
    in silent prayer

    Liked by 1 person

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