Posted by Kat Wiseman on July 31, 2020

Poetry Inspired by Velux

DESIGN AND INSPIRATION

Daylight is inspiring. Fresh air, from a light summer's breeze to a strong gust of wind, is inspiring. So, it stands to reason that Velux skylights, which bring you both abundant light and fresh air, can be pretty inspiring too. At least, that's how the United Kingdom's Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, felt when he sat beneath his Velux skylights and penned two verses for the UK news site, NewStatesman.

 

In the online publication's culture series "How we live now" about life during the pandemic, Armitage says that as "a kind of writer-in-residence" in his own house, he's scrutinized his creative process. He says this scrutiny is especially evident "when sitting under the Velux window over my desk. The confrontation between thought and blank page has escalated dramatically for me during lockdown, and the two poems here are negotiated settlements of a kind, attempts at resolving the daily stand-off."

 

Velux 1

Velux window,

headspace

over a slanted booth,

 

hatch in the mind,

the hours refracting

on blank paper

 

or printed page,

the pane

hinged at the hip

 

for more tilt

should tilt

be required.

 

Pitch and yaw.

Pull down

on the top bar

 

to unseal the sky,

for a hit of air.

Glazed hob or halo

 

on hot days,

and some nights

the silversmith moon

 

delivers

an empty tray

to the narrow desk.

 

Glider cockpit,

chancel-for-one,

oblique alcove

 

for piloting

angled thought

through diagonal light.

 

 

Velux 2

Dear reader,

this morning the poet

is under the Velux,

 

fontanel

in the pitched roof,

camera lucida

 

throwing

barbed-wire longhand

at hotchpotch skies,

 

glass planchette

elbowing

cloud-edge and cloudbase

 

onto a scrawled page,

dog-legged

illumination

 

proofing

and proving,

the kinked light

 

a merciless critic

of passable words

and 'finished' works.

 

He'll dither a while,

poem-less under

trepanned tiles, stalled

 

in the anglepoise

of heaven

and desk,

 

damned if he'll rhyme

miracle

with spiracle

 


These poems feature in "How We Live Now", from the NewStatesman's Summer 2020 issue.

 

How does your Velux skylight inspire you? Tell us in the comments!