Here is the 33rd poem in my 52-poem sequence (one a week) for 2013, followed by some illumination and reflection:
Wide and helpless skies
skies without language or voice
without Gods or hope
you have me captive.
skies without number
day after day
year after year of this short life
lost in the unfathomable span of time
receive these idle prayers.
wide and empty skies
look down upon your subject
and accept this insignificant offering,
these unanswerable questions, perfectly phrased.
the moon rises as evening falls
and my heart opens to you
without hope without restraint
have I given everything without return?
the sun sets and skies darken
but twilight shines from within me
as if I have swallowed up the stars.
the sun departs but leaves me
with something deeper:
the enduring proof in memory
of the possibility of love.
(-16th June 2000.)
This one reads more like a song lyric than a poem, and that’s possibly because, as I remember it, I wrote it after listening to “Sanvean” by Lisa Gerrard/Dead Can Dance, a song which seems to have been rather over-played in the years since. Of course, the song is sung in an invented language, so its narrative content is a matter of conjecture, open to everyone, hence mine. As it happens, I was in Venice last week, and chanced upon an exhibition entitled “We Are Stone’s Children” of the sculptures of Emily Young in the cloisters of the church of Madonna dell’Orto, in the Cannaregio district. I’m including a photograph of these as the accompanying image to this post, since they seem to me to express a similar kind of wordless spiritual longing as the song and my attempted poem. Each of these massive stone heads is sculpted from a single block of marble (or in one case Lapis Lazuli) in such a way that the random texture and veining of the stone is allowed to express itself and enter into some kind of surprising dialogue with the subject matter. The effect is elemental and unexpectedly powerful, reminding a bit of John Foxx’s Cathedral Oceans project. Three cheers for the cross-fertilisation of visual art, writing, and music. When you lose your way in one, seek out fresh inspiration in the other.