Time fragments in a room

For dverse.

Time fragments in a room

Time, you said, and slid out of bed.
I could feel the cold through the soles of your feet.
I can always feel that shudder
when you break the link
and let in the world.

and then it fell, slid into a heap
of dead leaves raked against the trunk.
I watched as you bagged it
before the hornets,
sleepy and only mildly irritated yet,
decided to attack.

The postcard on my desk beckons
with its coloured blinds and drying washing,
the racket I hear despite its silence,
and in the distance, Il Vesuvio
slumps like a blue and diaphanous slag heap.

Nothing paws the air like a cat
next to the stove,
daring you to stroke its stomach.
Combustion rumbles, red and hot,
a train in waiting.

Dark the window behind the open shutter,
black the night meadow.
We never shut it out not entirely.
Night, meadow, the night stalkers,
creep through the glass when we’re gone.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

57 thoughts on “Time fragments in a room”

  1. This is absolutely stunning, Jane! Especially love “The postcard on my desk beckons with its coloured blinds and drying washing.”💝💝

  2. Aïe…that last paragraph…but what atmosphere, it reads like parts of an Italian, or French film (Italian for obvious reasons), I mean I really felt it, like I was in a cinema with loud audio sounds.

    1. I’m glad you like it. What are the obvious reasons? Are you in Italy? I think I’ve asked you this before, but if I knew the answer, I’ve forgotten, sorry.
      A comment David made about his own poem (which I think probably gets the form right) made me think that it needs a degree of obscurity to be successful, and I personally don’t like intentional obscurity. It usually comes over as pure pretentious self-indulgence. So, I wrote each stanza as a small, detached poem. It gave me more pleasure, but I’m not sure that was the aim of the game.

      Yours is another harrowing poem. So hard to know it’s based on a true story. You got the chopped up feel of the form, but you kept a sense and a meaning to the whole thing, which I find so much more satisfying than just randomness.

    1. Thinking about it, I doubt this is what the form is all about. It’s probably meant to be chopped up randomness that doesn’t make any sense. I don’t really see what anyone gets out of that. There’s enough disparate rubbish in this room to be able to pretend it’s not just what’s in front of my nose.

      1. I’m not exactly sure about the form either which is why I kind of avoided it by using a collage, where the thoughts are by their nature just fragments. But I like what you did with it.

      2. That’s why I made the comment that the words work with the collage as an entity. On their own, they wouldn’t make much sense. Which has never been a problem for some poets.

  3. The 2nd and 3rd fragments jumped out at me. Most of the leaves around here have been raked up and bagged and taken away by the town. The 3rd one has a bit of mystery that
    makes me wonder about the postcard.

    1. I’ve never understood this leaf raking obsession. Why do people do it? The leaves just rot down and provide nutrients for the soil and insect life. In the ‘leaf’ stanza I was thinking of a hornets’ nest. Those you do have to bag up and destroy!
      Postcards are like that, aren’t they, a glimpse into a distant place. Usually flattering, the photogenic parts 🙂

  4. I very much like that this loosely knits together, just enough to tease. I also like “Nothing paws the air like a cat”. What a brilliant phrase!

    1. I’m pleased you like the whole. You’re right that it is ‘loosely knit’ which probably means it isn’t a proper ‘fragment’ poem. It was more satisfying to write though 🙂

  5. When I saw this prompt I thought of the cadralors you write, and I thought you’d like it. I agree that just random fragments are not very satisfying, but there’s a sense to your fragments. I can imagine being in this room (well, of course 😏). I don’t like intentional obscurity either. I love the postcard, looking out the window, the cat. . .it all fits together. Time fragments in a room–yes.

    1. I wasn’t sure about the idea of a few lines taken out of any context, and I obviously forgot about that aspect of it when I wrote this 🙂
      It is the same sort of thing as a cadralor, each stanza standing alone as a micro poem, but I don’t think that’s what the fragment form is about. As David said, bits and bats of random verse don’t actually mean anything.

      1. I had a look at the Visual Verse prompt today and the four guest pieces are a real turn off. One of the two poems has completely random punctuation and lay out, all over the place with slashes and spaces for no apparent reason. Why?

  6. “and in the distance, Il Vesuvio
    slumps like a blue and diaphanous slag heap.”
    So much to like in this poem, Jane, but particularly those two lines. Regarding “obscurity”, I think the form creates the obscurity while the individual fragmenets can be crystal clear.

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