staring, hypnotized, into the eyes of my reflection

Before they built the apartment blocks across the street, before everything was screened off and suffocating, I used to watch Bucharest through the night from the triple window in my room above Ştefan cel Mare. The window usually reflected the room’s cheap furniture—a bedroom set of yellowed wood, a dresser and mirror, a table with some aloe and asparagus in clay pots, a chandelier with globes of green glass, one of which had been chipped long ago. The reflected yellow space turned even yellower as it deepened into the enormous window, and I, a thin, sickly adolescent in torn pajamas and a stretched-out vest, would spend the long afternoon perched on the small cabinet in the bedstead, staring, hypnotized, into the eyes of my reflection in the transparent glass.

from Mircea Cartarescu's novel The Blinding, tr. Sean Cotter




high windows

When I see a couple of kids
And guess he’s fucking her and she’s   
Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,   
I know this is paradise

Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives—   
Bonds and gestures pushed to one side
Like an outdated combine harvester,
And everyone young going down the long slide

To happiness, endlessly. I wonder if   
Anyone looked at me, forty years back,   
And thought, That’ll be the life;
No God any more, or sweating in the dark

About hell and that, or having to hide   
What you think of the priest. He
And his lot will all go down the long slide   
Like free bloody birds. And immediately

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:   
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

Philip Larkin



Greenwich Village, NYC

André Kertész, Greenwich Village, New York (woman reading in fire escape window), 1963



Old Woman at a Winter Window

From squared-off quarters
through a frosted pane
I stare into the glittering
quartz of the air, marbled
with tiny streamers from
valiant chimneys down the valley.

It is as if we pit ourselves
against congealing it.
We claim these square ceiling and walls
and floor from the immensity
as all that have for us,
meaning, against the encroaching ice,

the ice that somehow 
signals another space, a fearful
glorious amplitude.

Old Woman at a Winter Window 
by Margaret Avison



open the love-window

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.
Close the language-door
and open the love-window.
The moon won't use the door,
only the window.