She set one in the front room, one in the back room. Then she went, creaking in her cheap shoes, to the window and drew the curtains. They slid with a familiar click along the brass rod, and soon the windows were obscured by thick sculptured folds of claret-coloured plush. When she had drawn the curtains in both rooms, a profound silence seemed to fall upon the drawingroom. The world outside seemed thickly and entirely cut off. Far away down the next street they heard the voice of a street hawker droning; the heavy hooves of van horses clopped slowly down the road. For a moment wheels ground on the road; then they died out and the silence was complete.
She got up as if she were going somewhere. But she stopped. Then she
strolled over to the window that looked out onto the street. The houses
opposite all had the same little front gardens; the same steps; the same
pillars; the same bow windows. But now dusk was falling and they
looked spectral and insubstantial in the dim light. Lamps were being lit;
a light glowed in the drawing-room opposite; then the curtains were
drawn, and the room was blotted out. Delia stood looking down at the
street. A woman of the lower classes was wheeling a perambulator; an
old man tottered along with his hands behind his back. Then the street
was empty; there was a pause. Here came a hansom jingling down the
road. Delia was momentarily interested. Was it going to stop at their
door or not? She gazed more intently. But then, to her regret, the cabman
jerked his reins, the horse stumbled on; the cab stopped two doors lower
"Someone's calling on the Stapletons," she called back, holding apart
the muslin blind. Milly came and stood beside her sister, and together,
through the slit, they watched a young man in a top-hat get out of the
cab. He stretched his hand up to pay the driver.
"Don't be caught looking," said Eleanor warningly. The young man ran
up the steps into the house; the door shut upon him and the cab drove
But for the moment the two girls stood at the window looking into the
street. The crocuses were yellow and purple in the front gardens. The almond
trees and privets were tipped with green. A sudden gust of wind
tore down the street, blowing a piece of paper along the pavement; and a
little swirl of dry dust followed after. Above the roofs was one of those
red and fitful London sunsets that make window after window burn
gold. There was a wildness in the spring evening; even here, in Abercorn
Terrace the light was changing from gold to black, from black to gold.
Dropping the blind, Delia turned, and coming back into the drawingroom,
"Oh my God!"
Resting at my open window I gaze out at the mountains
A thousand peaks of blue and purple rise above the pines
Without a thought or care white clouds come and go
So utterly accepting.... so totally relaxed
Autunm eats its leaf out of my hand: we are friends. From the nuts we shell time and we teach it to walk: then time returns to the shell.
In the mirror it's Sunday, in dream there is room for sleeping, our mouths speak the truth.
My eye moves down to the sex of my loved one: we look at each other, we exchange dark words, we love each other like poppy and recollection, we sleep like wine in the conches, like the sea in the moon's blood ray.
We stand by the window embracing, and people look up from the street: it is time they knew! It is time the stone made an effort to flower, time unrest had a beating heart. It is time it were time.