Your ground is the first backdrop, black as when God
hovered over the waters before He let light in.
Then light came, washing through crevices that opened,
like these holes, in the darkness. Though you and I
have slipped its moorings, still we give it space,
that ancient story, remembering the days
when we sought sides and a roof to our world.
Now the metaphors lie far apart. But there are times––
that moment when you turn to your tools, your fibreglass
and casein, and lift from your storehouse a way of saying,
‘Then there was movement’––when I am sure that
the grand canvases of the imagination converge, if only
for an instant. It has taken time to get here, but long before
we knew to write it down our race has liked a prologue.
Bang goes the hierophant! Here is one joyous immediate.
Last time I looked it was a garden: a shower of dots
carried along on beaded tracks I took for pods or bulbs
among a tracery of ornamental paths. But, see,
the skin too is a garden, its inlaid topiary idiom small
as the whorl of your thumb, or large as the skin’s
whole imprint. Formations ad infinitum. Full fathom
five they fountain. Not quite a mayhem of choice
as referents fissure and switch, but––now we have
stars, as many as you like. This lace is the night sky;
there cells unfold like flights of living thoughts.
Microscopic, macroscopic, their reach is the same.
Here is the moment of origin. You set it against
the white of a wall. And summon the blank of before.
from In the supplementary garden
(Cold Hub Press)
Wellington poet Diana Bridge has published six collections of poems, the latest of which, aloe & other poems, came out in 2009. She was awarded the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award in 2010, for her distinguished contribution to New Zealand poetry, and her essay, "An attachment to China" won the 2014 Landfall essay competition. In 2015 she won the prestigious Sarah Broom Poetry Prize. Bridge has spent many years stationed overseas with her diplomat husband in London, Singapore, Beijing, Hong Kong, Delhi and Taipei. She has a PhD in Chinese Literature from the Australian National University and has studied, researched and taught Chinese language, literature and art history and early Indian art history.
Diana Bridge’s Choice: ‘Sleepers’ by John Dennison