As if it were a painting without a frame,
stuck on a peg on my wall at home,
you walk past this poetry as if
it says nothing to you. You think
you’ve heard it so many times before
it’s become part of the wallpaper.
I used to stare at the wallpaper
for hours as a child ill in bed
and slowly the meaning of that curve,
that twiddle, those dots in just
that place, repeated and repeated,
would creep up on me, and
when I understood the message
the pattern would start to move
and change, and like that poor crazed
woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper”
I would hear a rustling and a muttering,
catch a glimpse of the old woman
who lived inside it, going about
her business of working on the pattern,
indifferent to me.
I want my poetry to be like that –
bursting out of the frame
of lines and rhymes, unconstrained
by my particular thoughts and dreams.
I want you to meet the old woman
who lives behind the lines,
to hear the secret she has to tell,
her secret, nothing to do with me.