What Does This Phrase Mean To You?



But what does this phrase mean to you:

“People in glass houses should not throw stones”?

Does it mean you might break things, these things

or others, not yet named, nor dreamed of?

Or that the wasps outside in the bundled grasses

are visible, extravagant and copper, and electric

tempests flash? Some people collect small glass shoes,

of green frosted glass, milk-blue or Nile green;

or persimmon-colored baby-shoe toothpick holders;

or slightly iridescent boot-shaped cologne bottles;

Others prefer a petrified sea-horse; still others

a Japanese sun-fish lantern, or teapots

shaped like cats, or aeronautics. Maybe

you count yourself one among them. Or maybe

you’re an oversized man, stomping around

in big shoes, in jungle boots or waffle-stompers,

a bull in a china shop knocking things off shelves.

It all comes back around to what seems real,

the fruit that appears in Aesop’s fable, then disappears

again into a watery idea, its relevance transparent,

its surface easily shattered, an apple made of glass.

It’s a familiar saying, an adage, and means just what it says.

And just as long as you’re its creature, and its subject,

will you just sleep in that big armchair in the sunlight,

like a cat the color of cinnamon, the sun streaming

through the windows, a cat in an enormous chair,

the embers of the sunset all around you?




black and white photo of poet Geoffrey NutterGeoffrey Nutter is the author of the poetry collections Christopher Sunset, Water’s Leaves & Other Poems, The Rose of Januaryand most recently Giant Moth Perishes, among others. He runs the Wallson Glass Poetry Seminars in New York City, where he lives with his family.