A humble admission that while we can't know it all, we keep asking.
"My best actions are a parrot's / bright feathers in the dark jungle / trying to catch your eye / with the colour and flight / which says, I am here / and trying to do what’s right."
Do we make the universe, or does it make us? In Outside, Inside, Michael Penny positions each of us at the centre of this mystery, but lightens this presumption with irony and word-play that is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.
The three hundred short, linked poems in this collection begin with a complaint about the unknowability of what's outside and what's inside, but then shift to an engagement with the very nature of this outside/inside dichotomy. Penny then explores the many ways the question arises for us: through travel, wind, rain, signs, ladders, landscape, the sun, the moon, even parrot feathers, and, of course, in how we use words and find meaning in them.
Ultimately, the poems ask whether we construct what's outside, or whether what's outside constructs us.