We are having the exterior of our house painted this week, a long overdue project. On Tuesday the front and south side were completely scraped and the painters sprayed oil-based primer on all surfaces. Consequently, I have been monitoring airflow to the best of my ability all day and evening, but I am tipsy and exhausted from breathing the fumes that made it indoors. Please understand that I have altered Old Postcard Wednesday accordingly for this week by not posting an old postcard, and posting instead this thought-provoking poem.
I am also introducing the art of my great-nephew, Mak. If you are on Facebook you may be able to access his Facebook gallery page here.
A Martian Sends A Postcard Home
-by Craig Raine
Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings
and some are treasured for their markings --
they cause the eyes to melt
or the body to shriek without pain.
I have never seen one fly, but
sometimes they perch on the hand.
Mist is when the sky is tired of flight
and rests its soft machine on ground:
then the world is dim and bookish
like engravings under tissue paper.
Rain is when the earth is television.
It has the property of making colours darker.
Model T is a room with the lock inside --
a key is turned to free the world
for movement, so quick there is a film
to watch for anything missed.
But time is tied to the wrist
or kept in a box, ticking with impatience.
In homes, a haunted apparatus sleeps,
that snores when you pick it up.
If the ghost cries, they carry it
to their lips and soothe it to sleep
with sounds. And yet they wake it up
deliberately, by tickling with a finger.
Only the young are allowed to suffer
openly. Adults go to a punishment room
with water but nothing to eat.
They lock the door and suffer the noises
alone. No one is exempt
and everyone's pain has a different smell.
At night when all the colours die,
they hide in pairs
and read about themselves --
in colour, with their eyelids shut.