Peter Boyle / Poetry

Paralysis (1955)

Laid out flat
in the back of the station wagon my father borrowed
I look up:
the leaves are immense,
green and golden with clear summer light
breaking through –
though I turn only my neck
I can see all of them
along this avenue that has no limits.

What does it matter
that I am only eyes
if I am to be carried
so lightly
under the trees of the world?
From beyond the numbness of my strange body
the wealth of the leaves
falls forever
into my small still watching.

(published in Towns in the Great desert: New and Selected Poems, Puncher and Wattman, 2013) Available at


2 thoughts on “Paralysis (1955)

  1. This poem fills me with gratitude; it does it in a gentle and personal way. Yet I listen to it as if it is about me. Eyes are meant to be the window to our souls but they’re much more if we let them see.

    • Sanaa, when I read Peter’s poem, I could truly see the boy in the back of the vehicle, staring at the leaves above him and feeling the freedom that his legs fail to provide. How wonderul is the world when we allow ourselves to savour every bit of it, despite everything that is going wrong in our lives.

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