Sometimes you arrive like a sudden storm 
or stay like a stubborn thought 

Have you outgrown this frame 
Are you climbing out 
or leaning in
The better to whisper

I can’t see clearly 
Perhaps I need to wipe my glasses 

A greyness has come over them 
A darkening or a thickening of the lens 

Too much glass to see by 
Too much window for the view 

And the hills dimmed
in the middle distance 

The clouds so low on the horizon 
they seem to want to land
To become part
of the matter
of the earth
To return to it 

You too have become 

And this frame is no use 

Rectilinear Opaque 

It has all the hallmarks 
of something reliable 

Something touchable 
Something to swear by 

But corners invite shadows 
they can’t shake off 

It happens in the four cornered mind 
all the time 

The rising of something new 

The presence of an old pain 

A figure who returns 
Something someone forgot to pin down 

A raincoat flapping
from the hallway hook 

The tarpaulin in the autumn wind
revealing the dug hole


Our peripheral system
is not the same as our visual system  
the one that sees and reads 
discerns reveals
The peripheral system 
perceives the corners 
and the shadows of the corners 
It is tuned in to ghosts 


While I wasn’t watching
you’ve moved again 

A giant game of statues
I cannot catch you 

How perfectly you sit
between solid and liquid 

I might melt you down and try again 
I was hoping for a better end

You are ice that comes

To cover up the body 
of a fox 

You are frost slowly growing
over the brittle bird 

You are the lake gently
freezing over each winter 

And perhaps if I look closely 
and risk falling in

You are the shadows of minnows
moving under the ice 

We are all
waiting for the thaw 


Each day I bring a handful of seawater
dripping across the floor to pour into your frame
I would like to polish you
into mirror black reflection
Each night I return 
and find you gone
Leaving only a deposit of salt crystals
forming in the corner
This is a lesson of dispersal
of cloud formation
Of crystal growth
of peripheral gesture
This is a lesson in gathering
An assemblage rather than a semblance
All this is my portrait of you father
I will put a frame around it

Image: Lucy Quinn My father’s portrait, 2018 13cm x 19cm x 3cm, Kiln cast black lead crystal glass