'Venetian Blinds' by Jan Owen | States of Poetry SA - Series Two

Heaved up or fountained down, the wooden slats breathe a shirr
and clattered repeat of the mill of their making, a satisfactory thud

like the outcome of a stock plot. Half hoist, they hang askew with a
pained smile, and bell pulls for self-service which pirouette

to a glut of knots. Tilt by tilt they’ll orchestrate your day, underlining gloom
and overruling light. Or clapped full shut on the heat, let laddered thread holes

shimmy the sun down beaded falls of bright. Late afternoons, the whole blank
bamboo book concertinas up to bare the view as the scooped weight

calligraphs its lines of cord – left, middle, right – to bunched boustrophedon loops.
And to lie beside the summer-tilted blinds in a sun-stripe shift of brown

and gold, with the scent of thyme from the hidden garden’s dog bark,
bee buzz, biplane snore, is to you dream you wake in the aqueous light

of green glass louvres, the sliced ice of your long-ago brother’s room,
a sleep-out with terrazzo floor, Buck Rogers comics under the bed,

night fears in a secret language, and morning’s, the first sun
totting up ingots: yesterday’s best feng shui rationing parallels out.

 


Mundane things can turn odd, explorable: Venetian blinds are particularly evocative with their hint of intrigue or nostalgia – from their name maybe: degrees of tilt as communication or secrecy. JJO