Monday, 19 November 2012

New windows

No, not THAT Windows.  I'm being double-glazed this week.

NO - not ME, you fools!  The windows.

I live in my friend's house, so she's in charge and has timed it nicely to mostly be happening while I'm at work, but coming home tonight reminded me of a poem I wrote a few years ago (new kitchen) which was published in the Ragged Raven Anthology 'Writing on the Water' :

Workmen in the house of women

Day one

All day we heard
their low rumble of laughter,
saw through upstairs nets
an overall, blue, moving,
felt the house resisting,
creaking it’s complaints
as they wrenched nails from wood
like pulling teeth.
All afternoon there was percussion,
voices, tools and feet,
and, in the evening,
we tiptoed to the kitchen
violated: brickwork exposed,
huge fingerprints like bruises,
boot-patterned dust,
and no milk.

Day two

Drilling like prospectors,
there’s a whine of protest.
Their voices separate into
the one who laughs the most, the one
who lies all day into his mobile phone.
Their sleight of hand is like magicians, surgeons.
They talk ‘top-coating,’ ‘bleeding.’
They are as tall as gods.
We bring them steaming offerings
and blush at banter,
imperfections laughed away
– echoing off the raw walls.

Day Seven

And they leave quickly
as though to urgent appointments,
abandoning unfinished business:
superficial sweepings,
surfaces still wet,
a scent that lingers –
putty, plaster, paint –
and it takes time to adjust
to the sudden freedom
and silence,
the hardening and tightening
as fresh wounds turn into scars.

© Clare Kirwan


  1. Excellent, BB. I can relate to this, after weeks of disruption at our daughter's house. Still not finished!

  2. That really is exactly how it feels - and I have lived through many renovations, repairs, and remodels - you sum things up perfectly!

  3. Oh, I love this! The only omissions are the teas-and-two-sugars, adn the ubiquitous plaster dust...

  4. Ha ha! That poem is bloody brilliant! I am moving into a new house soon and new double glazing is going to be fitted, so I shall revisit it anew then.

    Why do you live in your friends house?

    1. Long story: I split up with my fella and had a big house in need of repair. My best mate needed a house-sitter when she was overseas for a year. I sold my house & moved in, intending to buy a smaller place later, but then all the prices went up and when she came back we both liked the company and it saved money!

  5. Thanks for all your kind words - sorry if I have stirred up the ghosts of workmen past...

  6. I love this poem. my front room really needs redecorating (this isn't a dodgy innuendo - it really does) but your poem makes me rethink... maybe i should just change the curtains.