A poem 'VISIBILITY LIMITED' is written by a highly accomplished translator and poet William I. Elliott. I suppose that a lot of readers might not know his face as a great poet. So I would like to introduce his poem 'VISIBILITY LIMITED' here.

                                                       VISIBILITY LIMITED

                                     Whether they are wide open,
                                      cracked open an inch or two
                                        or closed but transparent,
                                        or closed but translucent,
                                          words are windows; yet
                                               I see you see me
                                                  only so far,
                                                for soon we run
                                                   smack into
                                                   a stone wall
                                                     can’t see

(from SELECTED POEMS OLD & NEW written by William I. Elliott ©, published by HON NO SHIRO, ISBN978-4-901901-39-0)

          The sonnet captures the essence of language. It calls to mind poems: ‘The Altar’ and ‘Easter Wings’ by George Herbert; ‘A Conch from Sicily’ by Alfred Corn; ‘The Window’ by Derek Mahon; and ‘War Symphony’ by Chen Li, as concrete poems. It could be shaped like inverted-triangular, slant light via a window, that is, rays through window glass get thick, gradually, thinner. Finally the last three lines as conclusion echo with complicated feelings. The number of syllables in each line is reduced in the last five lines, suggesting visibility/invisibility of a description.
          The 5th-line "words are windows" could be the core of the sonnet. The use of the windows with rich metaphors results in that the line has excellent ambiguity as if adjusting an aperture and lenses. The syntax of the 3rd-and-4th six-syllable lines makes the 5th-line more effective. Mystery and depth of words – I affirm in the poem, also as in a handful of micro poems or haiku.

(Photos by Masao Gozu)