Susan Utting’s poem, “Opening the Windows” was selected by judge Anna Woodford as one of 6 winning poems in The Poetry Society’s ‘Getting Out’ competition. What a lovely way to end 2016!
Opening the Windows
after Vilhelm Hamershøi, Interior 1909
June, and the ceremony begins. The catch
on a bedroom frame is first – unlocked,
the handle lifted, stiffened hinge eased
to a different angle.
The hairs on her bare arms stir themselves
a little, do not quite rise – there is no thrill
here, simply air on unaccustomed skin.
‘Fresh’ is the word for outside air come in,
but she doesn’t use it – silence is her way,
breath her language. And so the slow
pane by pane, catch, handle, hinge, breath,
air that moves, felt along the blood, like a sip
of iced water, like snow after birchwood heat,
petals fallen on dry earth, their cool
restfulness after all that blowsy flowering.
First published in Poetry News