child in the window

In one of these rooms, was a window looking into the street, where the child sat, many and many a long evening, and often far into the night, alone and thoughtful. None are so anxious as those who watch and wait; at these times, mournful fancies came flocking on her mind, in crowds.
She would take her station here, at dusk, and watch the people as they passed up and down the street, or appeared at the windows of the opposite houses; wondering whether those rooms were as lonesome as that in which she sat, and whether those people felt it company to see her sitting there, as she did only to see them look out and draw in their heads again. There was a crooked stack of chimneys on one of the roofs, in which, by often looking at them, she had fancied ugly faces that were frowning over at her and trying to peer into the room; and she felt glad when it grew too dark to make them out, though she was sorry too, when the man came to light the lamps in the street--for it made it late, and very dull inside. Then, she would draw in her head to look round the room and see that everything was in its place and hadn't moved.

Charles Dickens , The Old Curiosity Shop



ever shifting patterns of light and shadow

As we dialogued on a sunny early October day, the tall cedars outside were gently waving in the breeze. Every branch was in motion, and the trees were swaying back and forth, glistening in the bright sunlight as they did so, creating ever shifting patterns of light and shadow. Dr. Sen pointed to the unceasing motion visible through the room's large windows, saying that like the breeze and the branches, the Way of Tea “follows nature's path: it is a flowing which is not obvious." It is called furyu. Fu means “wind,” and ryu means “to flow”: “this suggests that our spirit should flow through life like the wind that flows through all of nature”.

from Robert Edgar Carter, The Japanese Arts and Self-Cultivation 


as if nothing

Écrire le jour, ses odeurs, ses lueurs, ses rumeurs. Ce qui s’approche, s’éloigne. Comment parler ce pli, cet instant où tout bascule? Ce fil où l’on attend, en équilibre? Avec le corps devenu écoute, regard. Chaque poème est comme une fenêtre. Un petit rectangle de mots qui donne sur ce qu’on ne sait pas. Sur la lumière et sur les ombres. Sur les visages et sur les gestes. Sur les paroles, sur les cris. Sur ce tissu du monde où, parfois, quand vient le silence, on entend que quelqu’un respire.

To transcribe the day, its odours, its glimmers, its murmurs. What comes near, what distances itself. How give voice to this fold, this instant in which everything vacillates? To this thread on which, poised, one waits? With the body become hearing, become gaze. Each poem is like a window. A small rectangle of words opening upon one knows not what. Upon light and shadows. Upon faces and gestures. Upon words, upon cries. Upon this fabric of the world where, sometimes, when silence comes, one hears someone breathing.  (tr. Michael Tweed)

Jacques Ancet



Between my Curtain and the Wall

The Angle of a Landscape --
That every time I wake --
Between my Curtain and the Wall
Upon an ample Crack --

Like a Venetian -- waiting --
Accosts my open eye --
Is just a Bough of Apples --
Held slanting, in the Sky --

The Pattern of a Chimney --
The Forehead of a Hill --
Sometimes -- a Vane's Forefinger --
But that's -- Occasional --

The Seasons -- shift -- my Picture --
Upon my Emerald Bough,
I wake -- to find no -- Emeralds --
Then -- Diamonds -- which the Snow

From Polar Caskets -- fetched me --
The Chimney -- and the Hill --
And just the Steeple's finger --
These -- never stir at all --

Emily Dickinson - The Angle of a Landscape

* * * * *

“The Angle of a Landscape—”  brings together two of the most prominent themes in Emily Dickinson’s poetry—the variability of nature in the outside world, and the constancy of her own domestic surroundings. These take their form in the steadfast landmarks and changing seasons, viewed daily from Dickinson’s own bedroom window. Dickinson often fluctuates in her poetic works between a desire for confinement and an affinity for the boundless natural world. This particular poem, which encapsulates these two converse and seemingly irreconcilable extremes, implies that Dickinson may have found a way to rectify her indecision through her own self-expression. The nature of poetry itself and Dickinson’s own poetic form enable her to combine the static and the dynamic, without choosing between the two.

Upon waking, Dickinson’s “open eye” is “Accost[ed]” by “The Angle of a Landscape—,” which, presumably when she rights herself, turns out to be “just a Bough of Apples— / Held slanting, in the Sky—.” What is implied in this scenario is the importance of perspective and its effect on how one views both the nature of an object (or a person, or a place, or an idea), and its scale. Just by a “slant” of her head, which can also be taken as a “slant” in thought, what initially appeared to be a vast landscape is reduced to something else entirely—something much smaller in scale and closer in distance—a branch of apples, quite nearly within reach.

Dickinson plays with similar themes of perspective and scale, as well as passing time and constancy, throughout the poem. As time goes on, she views the landscape change. One day, the tree outside her window has “Emerald Bough[s],” and then, upon wakening, she finds these to be replaced by the “Diamonds” of snow. It seems both natural and fluid, the way “The Seasons—shift—[her] Picture—,” like a slideshow or a reel of film, and yet markedly, some things remain unaffected by the continuous cycle of nature— landmarks such as “The Chimney—and the Hill—” “never stir at all—.” All of this, meanwhile—the turning of the seasons (the passing of time) and the vast landscape (the outside world) she sees—fit, it seems, “Between [her] Curtain and the Wall,” what she calls “an ample Crack.” Thus, the expansive scale of the passing seasons and the landscape she describes, fill, to her eyes, the mere inches between where her curtain ends and her wall begins.

excerpt from the essay “These—never stir at all—”: The Static and Dynamic in Dickinson",
by Michele Buonanduci
read here



like the lyre


Depuis quand nous te jouons
avec nos yeux, fenêtre!
Comme la lyre, tu devais être
rendue aux constellations!

Instrument tendre et fort
de nos âmes successives,
arrache enfin de nos sorts
ta forme définitive!

Monte! Tourne de loin
autour de nous qui te fîmes.
Soyex, astres, les rimes
trouvées a nos bouts de destin!

Rainer Maria Rilke


Window, just how long have we
played you with our eyes!
Like the lyre, you should be
one of the constellations!

Tender and strong instrument
of our successive souls,
tear out your permanent
form at last from our fates!

Climb! And from afar
spin around us who created you.
Be the rhyme, O star,
found at the end of our end!

Translated by A. Poulin Jr.