You are here

Howard Hodgkin Considers the Moon

George Szirtes

When it comes to me, green, through the green window

it is not green but brown. When it enters the back

of the eyes it is not brown but black with a faint afterglow.

When I wake in the night, once again it is black,

then swells into a kind of gold or foxed yellow.


When the moon rises, that which is cold freezes

and creeps under the nails with a peculiar noise

I can’t quite identify. When, eventually, it squeezes

through the double glazing it is a blend of alloys

passing through the usual predictable phases:


now full, then mildly dented like an old football,

cut sharp in the middle, a slice of lemon,

the merest sliver of ice left on the floor, a small

dense patch of nothing. But who are these women

sitting immobile, patient in the hall?


I feel their cold. Their manners are the politesse

of death, their small talk is of moons waning.

I watch them as they rise and dress

in little black numbers. Their stars hang

in the cupboard. The moon waits on the terrace.


From The Rialto No 66 (Spring 2009)

Explore more