Sunday 29 April 2007

Claire Crowther's Stretch of Closures, Second Selection


It was because she wasn't overlooked
because our street is one-side only
and opposite the full length of our houses
there's a wall, it's because no view,
that my neighbour hung a balcony
across her upper storey. The first

stand-out. They multiplied, a gallery
to step onto, raising knees high
through windows, or through French doors.
They float us in the air like life jackets
but, even so, we grip the canvas scaffold
of deckchairs when we set down mugs

on armrests, balance sunglasses
on the rims of flower pots, in order
to stare at lichens, mosses, water stains
and those ancient regular naked boles
of parasite, we've learned, an epiphyte
that escalades over the coping, invisibly

leaving behind the glass and iron spikes.
Our mews is mentioned in the Area Guide
so tourists occasionally come to see

the cagey prominences'! But for us,
whoever owns it, whatsoever it blinds –
grass pissing seeds inside dumped factories,

elder saplings cracking through concrete,
limbless petrol pumps, padlocked shafts –
however chafed with particulates,
it is that bent-shouldered, standing wall
that makes our heritage. What blank thing
do you look at without altering?

Claire Crowther
Stretch of Closures (Shearsman, 2007)

You can buy Stretch of Closures at or

No comments:

Post a Comment