The apparent confinement, revealing
one’s body carried aloft,
or another’s, receding,

flows into the horizontal
and earns a new approach: torsos
divided and become

ornamental, forms varying so
as to relieve the eye, and
in the end, deceive.

In this place darkness blesses all.

* * *

This was the first of a series of twelve pieces written at a desk in front of a shuttered window. I was taken with how a simple adjustment of the slats affected perception – that what I saw was only a disjointed portion of what there was to see. The series originally appeared in the anthology Terra Firma in 2004, and made its appearance on the blog in 2014.


29 thoughts on “Shutters

  1. Vertical and horizontal lines. Hard divisions of light and shadow and the unintentional illusion non-illusion of seeing only part of what we see. So much in a few lines of poetry. I imagine the series is great.

    Liked by 1 person

        • Perhaps the poet is merely limiting sensory options, or at the most, altering them in such a way as to provide alternatives; what we perceive may not reflect what is. Or the poet may have sipped one too many cognacs (this was written during his cognac period) while pondering his inability to produce anything publishable for oh so many years, only to discover that the best path through that drought was to simply forge on. Or not.


          • like Heidegger’s analysis of Stefan George’s The Word, in which he doesn’t see the norn’s taking of the ‘prize’ away as a loss, but simply as a Way to the word, to language. here you ‘provide alternatives’ with the shutters movement, which may take something away, may limit, but creates something new. this makes much more sense in my own head, like most things.


            • I have determined, through much trial and error, that limiting my options opens other, previously unseen avenues, and that there is absolutely nothing limiting within that paradigm. Hence my love of writing within the sonnet form – the constraints of the 14-line rhyme scheme offer new worlds to explore.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: singing bowl after Shutters i-xii by Robert Okaji – Daniel Paul Marshall

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