The Plunge

The Plunge

The Plunge
World Asleep

for C.

Room after room
I hunt the house through
Robert Browning

Fogbound, the house

towards a bluish distance,
where copses
stain the fog and pearl it.

Even the foreground’s muted –
bramble, grass, willow-stem: flattened
as if colour
no longer carries a charge,
as if it were sound,

next door’s car starting
in two dimensions
of tuh-tuh,
the lorry on the road suddenly too close;

distance can’t keep these things
in tension.

Fog shields you –
it’s a kind of caretaking
that reduces big questions
to presence,

making you want to open the glass door
and step out
into its tall
A wateriness
lifting your hair.


The unknown is always arriving,
a continual rescuing flow round you
and on:

fog’s oozy bloom,
the pages of books –

their intimate, unconditional voices
all forgiveness when
below tall green walls
they fluttered off the shelves
into your hands.

Their leaves were soft, cool;
something opening
as they flew open –

Already the dusty-boarded classroom
was being inked-out –
blots on the sun –

Light slid across tables,
paint turned the water in the jam-jar milky,
when you blinked, you saw red and gold
enamel your lids.

You could almost touch
what was spacious and vivid
as the sky beyond the windows

where tiny birds
looped in an Atlantic wind.


You long for what’s spacious and vivid –
the unveiled mirror;

leading down perspectives of longing
the way temple floors at Plaoshnik on Ohrid –
open into Byzantine colours
of pheasant and peacock

while below, on the afternoon shoreline,
reeds meal themselves yellow,
water crusts with glitter
thrown out ceaselessly –
knots and fissures –
to the centre of the lake.

The slit of your traveller’s eye opens
and shuts
at the shock of this.


On hot afternoons
dust visits the foyer of the National Museum

where the foreigner – awkward,
mute – pays double.

Behind the cashier
display-cases are turning themselves into mirrors,

light sibilates along them;
here, here
it whispers,

smudgy with echo.

You press a finger on humming glass –

a deeper note rises through the hum
like its shadow,

as if your being here throws the switch
that lights-up the tableaux:

registering you they respond, dilate.
Alone in the gallery, you’re blushing

with a recognition which seems
inauthentic –
too self-conscious;

but you want to slide out of yourself
into blacks, blues, reds,

the weight and swim of a geometry
familiar as your reflection.


Where to start from?

In the Winterreise bad weather makes a shroud,
fog binds the world
with cold-as-charity bandages.

Setting off
into the invisible, beyond music,
you strain at something
glimpsed –

but the retina’s
all fog and shine,
light curtained by water.

How to catch what you’re looking for
in the mind’s
tricky lens?

in the exit’s street-glare,
you remember ash twigs
held up for a moment against fog;

the way winter light slips
from room to room
of a house among water-meadows –

and how something was going ahead of you, always;
as if crowned with water droplets.

2018-08-21T17:23:06+00:00 December 15th, 2007|Categories: Poetry, Blesok no. 57|0 Comments