of peepholes and windows

"So: we can argue that a peephole is a kind of window, right? If one makes a genealogy of windows, one will surely encounter peepholes."  Florence Lenaers

Unlike a window, a peephole is not intended for contemplating the view which it frames, nor the light gently falling within the interior of the space it opens.

Even when closed a window opens, whereas even when open a peephole maintains the integrity of a closed space.

A peephole provides security of the interior, a window comfort of the exterior.

A window reveals. A peephole conceals.

A window allows for various perspectives and varying viewing distances. A peephole only one, and that distorted.

A peephole is a puncture, a window an embrace.

The nature of a peephole (to be peered through from up close with a single eye) renders one half-blind. A window, on the other hand, encourages one to look with both eyes open wide.

One looks through a peephole with eyes of fear. One looks through a window with eyes of wonder.




Patrick Melrose

"What's the point of a fucking window if you can't jump out of it?"

Edward St. Aubyn




I looked out the window at dawn and saw a young apple tree translucent in brightness.

And when I looked out at dawn once again, an apple tree laden with fruit stood there.

Many years had probably gone by but I remember nothing of what happened in my sleep.

Czeslaw Milosz


wind-swept spirit

In this mortal frame of mine which is made of a hundred bones and nine orifices there is something, and this something is called a wind-swept spirit for lack of a better name, for it is much like a thin drapery that is torn and swept away at the slightest stir of the wind.

Matsuo Bashō, ‘The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchelʼ (after The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches, edited and translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa)





I propose
turning the key

useless to
conceal from you that
strange things
take place

it used to
ring of its
own accord

chair by
the window and the
door closed

saw the curtain


when I weary of
looking, something is
bound to appear


she is frightened
by the sound but
cannot describe it

the face
vanishes, the
hands remain

white arms beneath
fearful drapery

looking out, over
the hill

I burn it, it
distills a dark mucus

wrenched away

a gossamer
veil, as it

resembling, yet
most unlike her

chair, handless

sloping downwards to
the base of the hill

grasp around
her ankle

an old-fashioned

a narrow
lane on a

Keith Waldrop,  from The House Seen from Nowhere (Litmus Press, 2002)