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) Magma, The Interpreter's House, Other Poetry, The Oxford Magazine, Snakeskin, Neon, Ink Sweat and Tears, Smiths Knoll, Sentinel and Antiphon.