Here shut behind an oaken door I stay,
left in a room paneled with times long gone,
and learn to know the passing of the day,
for day and I await the selfsame dawn.
My window faces west, my door is closed
against the east, and since I’ve seen no sun
except the sun forgotten, I supposed
that I should never see a day begun.
Thus from a child, I was the form of doubt,
and wrote my sonnets to the western lights,
and watched the stars till they had all gone out,
Singing, like sons of dusk, to sleepless nights.
But when the light falls on the keyhole’s rim,
I’ll sing of dawn, and day shall be my hymn.


Lynn Michael Martin lives in Hagerstown, MD. He edits the Curator, a poetry publication, and loves to read Middle English literature.

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5 Responses

  1. Bruce E. Wren

    Interesting, and well written. I would be interested in seeing more of Mr. Martin’s works.

  2. Martin Rizley

    A very intriguing poem. I must confess I find it enigmatic, and am not sure I grasp its meaning. What is this place from which you write, shut behind an oaken door and with your window facing west? Are you referring to a person who is old and bedridden, confined to a westward facing room, or is the language entirely symbolic? .What seems clear to me is that the poem is about hope. You seem to write as one whose theme from childhood has been the classic poetic theme of mutability– the ephemeral character of everything in this mortal life, symbolized by sunsets, dusk, fading stars, etc.– you yourself being the “form of doubt,” i. e, of a doubting, skeptical outlook. But as you draw nearer to life´s end, you see a “ray of hope” shining through a keyhole, and are led to hope for the arrival of dawn, a rebirth, as it were. Am I approximating the meaning of your poem?

    • Lynn Martin

      Martin, you are fairly close to my intent, though I think of the poem as more speaking from a particular state of mind than a particular age. Though I’m usually an optimist, sometimes it seems that I’ve spent much of my life not believing. Also, my poems tend to be written when I’m feeling depressed; hence writing my sonnets “to the western lights.” But even in those times, I realize that hope is real, though it is hard to sense.

  3. Monty

    Is “panelled” spelt with only one ‘L’ on that side of the pond?
    Does ‘gone’ rhyme with ‘dawn’ on that side of the pond?

    • Lynn Martin

      Monty, on this side of the pond, I believe that “panelled” can be spelled either way, though with a single L is preferable. The same is true of “traveller,” which for some reason I always want to spell with two Ls, while my fellow Americans tend to use one. I suppose I should grow consistent in some way.

      And “gone” does rhyme with “dawn” in most American dialects.


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