Balcony of Virtue
Since they cut down the sycamore, I see it every day,
the redbrick house with its brand-new white balcony.
An odd sort of excrescence. Its presence
fills me with unease; I miss the messy old maple.
What goes on in the house is anybody’s guess:
who lives there? I never see them, never hear them,
but on restless nights I sense the migrations
of their thoughts, feel the loudness of their lives
rebounding from wall to wall within. Nothing,
none of it escapes to the balcony.
It pouts its prissy balustrade, tightens its muscly corbel,
knows no secrets. Very well.
What goes on on the balcony is nobody’s guess.
It harbours no moss, no bugs, no birdshit, no fallen leaves,
no forgotten toys, no fluttery washing, no broken cups, no
broken promises, no flowers, no fag ends, no feathers, no trace
of the hawk’s breakfast or the owl’s midnight snack.
The mere sight of it makes me ache for unspeakable
caprices in moated orchards, squelchy rambles
through sentimental jungles, hearts of twilight,
sinful sojourns in misty swamps.
When the world has come to an end and all scores have been
the balcony will remain, hovering above the debris,
astringently immaculate, virtually
If you have any comments on this poem, Jane Røken
would be pleased to hear them.