Poem introduction

I once fell to contemplating, at Brook Cottage, our fine old plank door. It suddenly seemed significant, related to life and death. The cromlech in this poem is a prehistoric structure, stone uprights and a block of stone on top, looking rather like a doorway in, say, the open landscape of Wales. The door of the living room of our house opens directly into the landscape.

The Door

The Door

Too little
has been said
of the door, its one
face turned to the night's
downpour and its other
to the shift and glisten of firelight.

Air, clasped
by this cover
into the room's book,
is filled by the turning
pages of dark and fire
as the wind shoulders the panels, or unsteadies that burning.

Not only
the storm's
breakwater, but the sudden
frontier to our concurrences, appearances,
and as full of the offer of space
as the view through a cromlech is.

For doors
are both frame and monument
to our spent time,
and too little
has been said
of our coming through and leaving by them.


from Selected Poems 1955-97 (OUP, 1997), copyright © Charles Tomlinson 1997, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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5Winter Journey I (1)

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6Winter Journey IV

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14Paring the Apple

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15The Picture of J.T. in a Prospect of Stone

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31During Rain

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33The Door

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Books by Charles Tomlinson