Presence and Absence

a poem by
JEANNE ELLIN | Grandmother + Poet 

 This a personal exploration of what may be found beyond the limits of physical frailty and material limitations; it is a move into a spiritual dimension from the restrictions of limited mobility and resources..

Photo by Olya Voloshka

SEPTEMBER night breathes visible white. House clenches. One high window lit. Within
narrow walls reaching towards each other. Looming ceiling, heavy banded with tarry
beams, keeping the floor safe, holding walls off. Floor boards groan as they are
grooved by the passage of endlessly measuring feet. Back and turn, step by step mark

what clock and calendar will not. Water’s slow stone drip might be the proper
measure here. Cushioned only by grey that comes from nowhere and might be
anything. Heel toe and heel toe again. Again, No one looks speaks or listens
In constricting space, with dim closeness something changes. Something stretches,

not walls, nor floor.  Something rises or perhaps descends. Moon gazes down,
shines down,  is drawn down. Room invested with presence that it could never hold.
Though no door opens, pacer is no longer alone, looks up into endless dark a sky high
under low ceiling. Tallness crowned with cold face of blinding silver. Eyes strain up

impossibly far to shining sphere too cold for human retina. In narrow walls breath
releases, window blackens on emptiness. House emerges into day empty of presence.
Echoes remain. Dirty-white, dust and shadows. Bowed walls and ceiling carry scorch
marks now. Foot pumiced boards no one paces. Un-trodden warped wood still weeps.




Grandmother + Poet

As a disabled older woman I am responding to the challenge of living in one room and in comparative isolation. I have found, and am discovering, many unexpected sources of joy.