Wednesday, August 31, 2005


It is a white frame house, freshly painted, on a gentle hill. It has no windows, except a little room at top with two tiny round portholes, curtains closed, like shut eyes. Around the house, yellow grass. There are no trees, no neighbours. We are standing in front. "This is our house." These words come as a thought, not from you, not from me. It is understood that here is where we will spend our lives. We go inside, me leading the way. In the darkness, we see ornate heirloom furniture, heavy grandmothery armchairs and sofas with doilies on their backs. The air is musty, suffocating. We need to get out - fast.

We are outside. The sunlight is brilliant. The house is blinding white, too white to look at. All around, an empty yellow plain, leading to a flat, featureless horizon. We have set up a table. On it we have gathered remaining things from our previous life - file folders, candles, some pots, a few odd mugs, two broken pencils, a clock with no hands. We intend it as a garage sale. But it is clear that no one will come to buy.

-- published in The New Quarterly #95 (Summer, 2005)


Blogger Della said...

Having an intense affinity for the event and, the essence, of death, the word death in poetry attracts me like a magnet to its pole. In "Death" material posessions as musty, suffocating items, is powerful imagery, material posessions are terrestial burdens, fortunatly they cannot be taken beyond earthly boundaries to clutter afterlife. Even as a few favourites are offered at the last garage sale, at Death's Gate nobody come to buy. Death therefore, by another name is Ultimate Freedom.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Brian Campbell said...

Thanks, Dallas. Your interpretation is pretty well spot-on. The poem came as a dream, but I see the house as that blinding white light people frequently report after having taken a brief trip down that dark tunnel. I'm not sure the items at the garage sale could be called "favourites", but they are items emblematic of a spent and mis-spent life. Of course, as a dream, the ultimate meaning, if there even is just one, will always remain shrouded in mystery.

9:02 PM  

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