How I Began Writing
Between myself and the pine trees on the hill
Thoughts passed, like presents. Unwrapping them, I found
words that I, not trees, knew and could afford:
lonely, sigh, night. The pines had given me
my seven-year self, but kept their own meaning in the sky.
Now, in exchange of dreams with this remote world
I still unwrap, identify the presents;
and always tired recognition gives way to hope
that soon I may find a new, a birthday shape,
a separate essence yielded without threat or deceit,
a truthful vocabulary of what is and is not.
Vowels turn like wheels: the chariot is empty.Tall burning consonants light the deserted street.
Unwrapping the world,
unwrapping the world
where pine trees still say lonely, sigh, night, and refuse,
refuse, and their needles of deceit drop in my eyes,
I began to write.
~ Janet Frame
First published posthumously in The Goose Bath, Vintage (2006)
See a copy of Janet Frame's manuscript for this poem at An Angel @ My Blog
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