Utting’s “Opening the Windows” wins The Poetry Society’s “Getting Out” competition

Susan Utting

Susan Utting


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!

Congratulations, Susan!


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
letting-in continues,

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.

Susan Utting

First published in Poetry News