Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Miniaturist

Sitting here finishing my Chicken Marsala, I just remembered that I had a poem, "The Miniaturist," that would be so fitting to post on this cold and blustery November night. Then I realized that I also had new photos that I took at a strange little doll museum in Vermont. Synthesis.


Here, in his cellar workshop,
a human sneeze could topple a world.
He confines his vision to the rooms
of the red and blue dollhouse.
Within a cone of golden light,
his hands are steady,
everything perfectly focused.
He balances a poppy seed bead of glue
on the tip of a toothpick,
attaches fringe to a rug
sewn from a scrap of his robe.
For his silent family,
he snips the hair from his head,
paints their eyes and smiling lips
with a single-bristle brush.

At dusk he lights the tiny lamps
and dreams himself inside.
Admit it, you're in there, too --
feet propped on the tapestry footstool,
hands clasped behind your neck.
An Afghan the size of a stamp
cozily rests across your lap.
You've turned your back to the missing wall,
to November's early darkness.
A bulb is ablaze
in the miniature fireplace,
its orange glow mistakable for warmth.

-- Christine Boyka Kluge
From Teaching Bones to Fly (2003)
Bitter Oleander Press

The poem was first published in Tar River Poetry, then in Teaching Bones to Fly. The photograph was taken 11/6/08. For more on things miniature, see the June 30th post entitled "The Poetics of Space," complete with a photo of a dollhouse doll. To enlarge the photos, just click on the images.


Deborah Batterman said...

A perfect poem, indeed for a blustery day. Have I ever told you about my eerie visit to the Doll Hospital that used to exist in Manhattan? Not nearly as warm and cozy as the scene you set here.

Christine said...

Hello, Deborah! Old dolls seem to have such character ... almost like they're haunted. Do tell about the doll hospital.

Pam said...

ooohhh-'dreams himself inside' I like this a lot.

Christine said...

Thank you, Pam. Just the usual shrinking process. I do it all the time...

Cynthia said...

A quietly comforting poem.

Christine said...

Thanks, and thanks so much for visiting, Cynthia. (The final line provides a bit of a twist with "mistakable for warmth.")