POETRY

Dutch Interior

By

He liked the late afternoon light as it dimmed
In the living room, and wouldn’t switch on
The electric lights until past eight o’clock.
His wife complained, called him cheerless, but
It wasn't a case of melancholy; he just liked
The way things looked in air growing darker
So gradually and imperceptibly that it seemed
The very element in which we live. Every man
And woman deserves one true moment of greatness
And this was his, this Dutch interior, entered
And possessed, so tranquil and yet so busy
With details: the couple’s shed clothes scattered
On the backs of armchairs, the dog chasing a shoe,
The wide open window, the late afternoon light.

David Lehman is a poet, writer, and editor. His eight full-length books of poetry include New and Selected Poems (2013), When a Woman Loves a Man (2005), The Daily Mirror (2000), and Valentine Place (1996). He is the editor of The Oxford Book of American Poetry and series editor of The Best American Poetry, which he founded in 1988. In 2010 he won ASCAP's Deems Taylor Award for the most recent of his nonfiction books, A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs. He teaches in the graduate writing program of the New School in New York City.

And this was his, this Dutch interior, entered
And possessed, so tranquil and yet so busy
With details: the couple’s shed clothes scattered
On the backs of armchairs, the dog chasing a shoe,
The wide open window, the late afternoon light.