Interior Design

I’m starting to feel better, thanks.    

I make it out more often now. I walk,

pick blackberries along the railway track,

peer into clouds and ponds. And yes, I do 

remember all his good advice, not least 

how he explained that it was up to me

to frame my thoughts with care. ‘You have a choice.

There’s very little fixed about the past: 

although things seemed to fall apart back then, 

that’s not the way it needs to look today.

The frame makes all the difference. Try and see.’ 

I’ve thought about it all and duly switched 

from frames of gilt to glass, from stain to brass. 


It works, up to a point. I’ve glimpsed a life

more suitably encased, the lighting changed,

all labels scrapped, some dignity restored.

But even so, I’d still just rather walk

straight out of every frame, then off the map.

Annette Volfing is Professor of Medieval German Studies, Oriel College, Oxford. Her poems have appeared in (or are forthcoming in) MagmaThe Interpreter's House, Other PoetryThe Oxford MagazineSnakeskinNeonInk Sweat and TearsSmiths KnollSentinel and Antiphon.

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