Helsinki Window

By Robert Creeley 1926–2005 Robert Creeley

for Anselm Hollo

Go out into brightened   
space out there the fainter   
yellowish place it
makes for eye to enter out   
to greyed penumbra all the   
way to thoughtful searching   
sight of all beyond that
solid red both brick and seeming   
metal roof or higher black   
beyond the genial slope I   
look at daily house top on   
my own way up to heaven.

         *

Same roof, light’s gone   
down back of it, behind   
the crying end of day, “I   
need something to do,” it’s   
been again those other   
things, what’s out there,   
sodden edge of sea’s   
bay, city’s graveyard, park   
deserted, flattened aspect,   
leaves gone colored fall   
to sidewalk, street, the end   
of all these days but   
still this regal light.

         *

Trees stripped, rather shed
of leaves, the black solid trunks up
to fibrous mesh of smaller   
branches, it is weather’s window,   
weather’s particular echo, here   
as if this place had been once,   
now vacant, a door that had had   
hinges swung in air’s peculiar   
emptiness, greyed, slumped elsewhere,   
asphalt blank of sidewalks, line of   
linearly absolute black metal fence.

         *

Old sky freshened with cloud bulk   
slides over frame of window the   
shadings of softened greys a light   
of air up out of this dense high   
structured enclosure of buildings   
top or pushed up flat of bricked roof   
frame I love I love the safety of   
small world this door frame back   
of me the panes of simple glass yet   
airy up sweep of birch trees sit in   
flat below all designation declaration   
here as clouds move so simply away.

         *

Windows now lit close out the   
upper dark the night’s a face   
three eyes far fainter than   
the day all faced with light   
inside the room makes eye re-
flective see the common world   
as one again no outside coming   
in no more than walls and post-
card pictures place faces across   
that cautious dark the tree no   
longer seen more than black edge   
close branches somehow still between.

         *

He was at the edge of this
reflective echo the words blown   
back in air a bubble of suddenly   
apparent person who walked to
sit down by the familiar brook and   
thought about his fading life
all “fading life” in tremulous airy   
perspect saw it hover in the surface   
of that moving darkness at the edge   
of sun’s passing water’s sudden depth   
his own hands’ knotted surface the   
sounding in himself of some other.

         *

One forty five afternoon red   
car parked left hand side   
of street no distinguishing   
feature still wet day a bicycle   
across the way a green door-
way with arched upper window   
a backyard edge of back wall
to enclosed alley low down small   
windows and two other cars green   
and blue parked too and miles   
and more miles still to go.

         *

This early still sunless morning when a chair’s   
creak translates to cat’s cry a blackness still
out the window might be apparent night when the
house still sleeping behind me seems a bag of   
immense empty silence and I feel the children   
still breathing still shifting their dreams an   
enigma will soon arrive here and the loved one   
centers all in her heavy sleeping arm out the   
leg pushed down bedclothes this body unseen un-
known placed out there in night I can feel all   
about me still sitting in this small spare pool of   
light watching the letters the words try to speak.

         *

Classic emptiness it
sits out there edge of   
hierarchic roof top it
marks with acid fine edge   
of apparent difference it   
is there here here that
sky so up and out and where   
it wants to be no birds no   
other thing can for a   
moment distract it be   
beyond its simple space.

Robert Creeley, “Helsinki Window” from Selected Poems of Robert Creeley. Copyright © 1991 by the Regents of the University of California. Reprinted with the permission of the University of California Press, www.ucpress.edu.

Source: Selected Poems (1991)

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Poet Robert Creeley 1926–2005

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects Weather, Nature

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Robert  Creeley

Biography

Once known primarily for his association with the group called the “Black Mountain Poets,” at the time of his death in 2005, Robert Creeley was widely recognized as one of the most important and influential American poets of the twentieth century. His poetry is noted for both its concision and emotional power. Albert Mobilio, writing in the Voice Literary Supplement, observed: “Creeley has shaped his own audience. The much . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Weather, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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