I consider windows and boxes

windows and boxes s

I look for keys to unlock what is
lost—searching inside every box—in
every container, in every drawer–

I can’t keep up all these disguises–
lifetimes hidden in vessels of dust,
threadbare remnants of secrets, lead veils–

Each day a new weight–still hauling them
around—I don’t know where they begin,
end, what existence lies underneath–

Time is not what it pretends to be–
the doors are locked, but I can open
every window, tear down the curtains–

Unchecked, the outside pours itself in,
displacing the insides–spilling out


My poem for the Vermeer writing challenge at the Exphrastic Review (“Woman Holding a Balance”, above) was rejected, but I’ve revised it down to 14 lines for Frank’s poetic prompt at dVerse.

windows and boxes close up s

My collage response to Vermeer is a work in progress, but I think this new, shorter, poem is more suited to both the original and what I’ve done so far.  Thanks Frank!


33 thoughts on “I consider windows and boxes

  1. “Finding the Balance” indeed. The shutdown has allowed my wife and I to finally discard old unworn clothes and mementos.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Time is not what it pretends to be’
    It can be closed compartments, never to be opened before it’s allowed then locked again forever. Yet you open them and dust them out, change the order. What a wonderful thing to do!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your collage and, of course, the Vermeer. We visited the Vermeer House in Delft when we were there – wonderful! I also love your poem, Kerfe, and am surprised it was rejected. It captures the anxiety of someone who is trying to keep on top of things. I am familiar with searching for items I don’t remember misplacing, only to find them where I least expect them. I especially like the lines:
    ‘threadbare remnants of secrets, lead veils–
    Each day a new weight–still hauling them
    and the frustration is palpable in:
    ‘the doors are locked, but I can open
    every window, tear down the curtains’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kim. I think they get many many submissions–they can’t publish them all.
      Vermeer asks so many questions with light. His work always has layers to look behind,
      I seem to find things where I have already looked several times. Sometimes the mind is too frenzied to see.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “threadbare remnants of secrets, lead veils–
    Each day a new weight–still hauling them
    Around…” such powerful lines I think you did the artist justice- for me this is the whole purpose of art to evoke a conscious response while maintaining its aesthetic.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Time is not what it pretends to be”–oh, I really like that. (You know my time obsession.)
    And those closing lines are wonderful.
    I like the hands and faces in your collage–like pasts and futures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Merril. I thought the painting to be very much about time.
      Your poem is wonderful–even just in the way it uses space so sparingly..
      The painting, like all good ones, could inspire many other (and different) collages. This one, as you noted, is about layers of time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Having just finished reading Richard Powers’ “The Overstory” (excellent pandemic reading if you’ve not done so yet) I found your poem and collage especially urgent. The weights, many chosen, many imagined, are nothing to what demands my attention beyond the window.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sun. That is a wonderful book! On so many levels, it just magnifies all that is wrong with our leadership and the people who put and keep them there. We have much work to do.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I always thought of Pandora as being wrongly chastised in the same way that Eve was forecasting the apple…better to know than to be “protected”.


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