Pyroglyphs

1 March 2017


With thanks to Heather Parnell, Pocket Remains.


Beyond the softnesses of squirrel, sable,
the more liquidly flickering kinds


of weasel, there is mouse-whisker,
down-feather of cloud-pheasant, newborn baby’s hair.


Don’t credit the word ‘air brush’. There is nothing
to be said with that in your calligraphy.


But look into the fire.


Pick one flame. Watch how it licks
itself, its frayed point, to the finest


definition. Try to read,
then to write, what is sketched by that tip.


*


In the lost script of the silent people,
thirty one characters seem to refer
to shades of being
absent – e.g.


‘the sense that someone has just left a room
where they were never present’ or
‘the state of having left what
is no longer there’.


There is a possibility
that you will understand them.
You have been warned.
Do you want to read on?



*


Among the rakings out of last night’s bonfire,
this: a flicker book of stills,


a busted flush of pages, each a brief exposure
of maybe an almost a face as it twisted away


but not before its glance burned in
as her or his face turned away might scorch the other


to the heart. Here’s a snap of the heart,


its heat print on the moment, here’s its ash-print
on the air. They’ll keep the albums, the two


matching albums of each other, see each other’s faces
riffled by in all the windows of a passing train.


*


As if the most mundane
and crumpled of us might reveal
in the body one day
what the mind hardly dared


suppose: spontaneous
combustion – every cell
resolving, in a kind of Rapture,
God’s equation, e = mc2



*


With a lighter-than-thinking brush-point,
a less-than-a-finger-tip’s flick, in an eye’s-blink,


a kiss to the page: a mark left without pigment
or ink – the almost weightless imprint


in the grass, the pad-scuff in sand
where life brushed past us, so close: signs


the old bush people knew. Ten thousand years


they shared the land with wildfire
in its season. Untended now, it stalks


the gardens of the suburbs, leaving crude
graffiti we can’t read beside our looted bins.


*


Where the angel of fire passed over
and did not stop
to knock:
a darkening …


Where it came low, slowed
and let its wingtip brush
between the streetlight and the blinds:
its shadow, with us …


Where it hesitated on the gable:
soot-fall
in the bricked-in chimney,
its grit on the page …


In the morning a scar, a charred
hole burned clean through
where it entered: as close
as we’ll come


to beholding the face,
to transcribing the one
and unsayable
name.


Note:
The poems of ‘Pyroglyphs’ dance around Heather Parnell’s Pocket Remains, a series of images
literally inscribed by fire, which can be accessed here.

This entry was posted in 57.1: EKPHRASTIC and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed.

Please read Cordite's comments policy before joining the discussion.