Sandy Shreve
Paintings, Photo Art, Poetry

Blog - Wednesday Poems

(posted on 22 May 2024)


A couple of years ago one of my poems, first published in the literary journal Exile, was selected for inclusion in Best Canadian Poetry 2023 (Biblioasis).  These collections come out annually, and also feature comments by the authors about their poems.  My comment on ‘Late’, is included below.


Just this, the way your robe hangs from the door,
and how the deep green leaf in its floral
pattern (pink on black) is answered in the towel
dangling from a hook below the mirror –
just this, the way it’s overlooked
until one sleepless night
someone rises and flicks on the light.

Once in a while a poem arrives almost fully realized, a gift from who knows where.  This has happened to me only a few times, but ‘Late’ was one of those gifts.  One night, after tossing and turning for a while, I hauled myself out of bed and headed to the bathroom.  There, I found the most astonishing beauty. Nothing had changed from earlier in the day, or even from the day before.  The same towels on the racks, the same housecoats on the door.  But for no particular reason, in that instant when I so casually turned on the light, I noticed – and gaped at – the colours, admiring how they just happened to match so well.  This simple image became, for me, a metaphor not just for my marriage but for how the ordinary can be extraordinary. ‘Late’ speaks to how the things we usually assume are insignificant (if we think of them at all) often have something to tell us, if we just take the time to consider them. The title, besides its literal reference to the middle of the night, suggests we might not want to put off paying attention to those little things we tend to ignore.  (I should note there were a few edits after the initial writing. The word ‘pink’ in the first draft was ‘pinks’. And the editors at Exile astutely noticed a redundant phrase in the fifth line, which, once I happily removed it, called for some line break changes.)