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Finding a language

 


Finding a language

- Josephine Dickinson (U.K.)

1

 

Arrivals from Cyprus,

from Preston, from Pisces,

from India, Guangzhou,

Orion, Beijing.

From Shanghai, from Pleiades,

Greece and Hong Kong.

From towns where traffic snarls,

from rainbow lucent isles.

Nuclear engineering, pottery,

physics, agriculture…

Young boys in suits,

girls in patent boots

eating nuts

on benches in airports.

Groups of Deaf

on the station platform signing,

from where there's nothing

between them and the sun on the sea,

but iron, I.T. and geometry,

philosophy and dentistry… 

 

2

 

Rattle of keys,

travellers in B&Bs.

Light reflected,

light dispersed,

students determined

on a first… Stone,

geography, history,

revenue management,

chemistry…

 

Going on a journey with a partner

Opening and closing like the petals of a flower

I am you and you are me: no difference

I am your dancing partner

waiting to see

which way you will step

Backward and forward -

what is the difference?

 

Silence in a night.

Who is still awake?

Someone is singing.

 

It is night and silent.

Someone is still awake.

What do they hear?

 

The war is past.

 

It is silent, very calm.

It is night, all are sleeping,

but a voice sings somewhere

 

 

3

 

Goldsmiths hammer ingots into leaf,

for champagne and cathedral roof,

for paintings, mouldings, decorations,

cakes and grief…

Mythology, biology,

operations research,

sociology.

Canals and celtic mounds:

an open book

 

Isn't it lovely to be held?

Leading the dance in the middle of the floor,

circling each other like two tigers

Backward and forward -

What is the difference?

I may be leading you

but I wait

for you to step

into the space I vacate

 

Silence in a night

who is still awake?

Someone is singing.

 

It is night and silent.

Someone is still awake.

What do they hear?

 

The looms have gone quiet.

 

It is silent, very calm.

It is night, all are sleeping,

but a voice sings somewhere

 

 

4

 

Clear water,

plants and pebbles

on the bottom.

Clocks that work,

clocks that are broken.

Slant of light on an afternoon.

Bronze, law, anthropology,

ethics and medicine,

all together,

in a glass vessel,

on a green sea.

A ship in the middle

of shippon fields.

Riggings across

the open sky.

Graffiti,

the Lune.

Philology,

a lion,

two roses,

religion

 

Leading the dance in the middle of the floor,

circling each other like two tigers

isn't it lovely to be held?

I am your dancing partner

waiting to see

which way you will step.

Backward and forward -

What is the difference?

 

Silence in a night.

Who is still awake?

Someone is singing.

 

Time it is to conjure

maps of the stars,

to drop bright scraps of tint.

 

For though it is night and silent,

someone is still awake.

Someone can hear

 

all that is past,

all that is present,

all that's to be.

 

It is silent, very calm.

It is night, all are sleeping,

but a voice sings somewhere

 

 

5

 


They'll soon be departing
by rocket to Vega,
to Cassiopeia,
Fomalhaut and Achernar,
Scorpius, Grus -
they're going all over,
they're full of the juice