Sunday 12 January 2014

Sunday Poem


Bring on that horizon with its filmic infinity.
Let us not speak of one sparrow, 
for there are always at least two or three, and if I see one, 
feather-tarnished and head slumped, 
I infer the logic of its fall a posteriori
I saw my father falling but could not catch him, 
the tubes and the breathing mask sustaining 
and draining life from him, an arrhythmia words 
cannot have. I understand the original sin of words. 
Each day I write out my punishment on a blackboard: 
chalk and the taste of chalk and the taste of ashes, eat, for this is my bread. 
I understand this in concreto and in individuo, for inanimate is the compass 
and its measure, one leg in love and the other in argument, so I travel. 
Where are you, father, ideal of the circle and the fixed point? 
I’m leaving the city of your birth, pushpin on a map, 
and I am driving to the periphery on a long straight road. 
To either side canola and its indescribable yellow,
butter and eggs and boyhood, sunlight through a magnifying glass,
the incandescence just before the paper burns, the ant curls into its crisp inferno. 
There is nothing but pavement and canola and beyond that there is nothing 
but the limits of nothing receding into the nothing beyond that. 
Though why would I think of nothing when everything is before me 
on a dinner plate, flowering, blossoming, burgeoning—I sing to the blossoms 
and they sing again a second verse. We sing for what it comes down to,
that the flowering of yellow embellishes reproduction. 
Or so the philosopher says: organon and dialectic and the earth’s fragile soil. 
How do we plant ourselves in the thick earth?
We do not, for we are condemned to movement, to walking, to naming the things of the earth. 
But I’m not walking, I’m driving, both hands on the wheel. 
In the fields someone has named names: Canadian Oil, transgenic. 
I am arrested, for they are damned beautiful, each flower a fleck of glory.
There is a Japanese song for children in praise of canola. 
A friend of my father’s sang it to me once.

From The Critique of Pure Reason (Frog Hollow, 2013) by Ross Leckie

1 comment:

sheree said...

This is so perfectly beautiful. Thank you.