Thursday, 5 January 2012

White Water, Black Bone

By Peter Redgrove. 

'That is a human skeleton under the cataract,
The jet bones shining in the white noise,
The black bones of a man of light:

It is a cascade that accepts
Human form from the bones
That have walked into it; and stand:

It must have been his method of death
To walk into a waterfall and be washed away,
Licked clean down to the jetting bones:

And the bones articulate the roar
Of the cataract that seems to speak
Out of the ribs and skull:

His white-haired sermon from the pelting brow,
The unfathomable water-lidded sockets:
Clad in robes that are foam-opulent,

And never the same clothes twice.'

I imagine a still, silent night and wind touching the long grass. You hear a distant roaring and turn to see them advancing languorously through the waving leaves. A black skeleton, surging with white foam as if beneath a waterfall. You can't see where the water is coming from or where it is going, only the sense of immense distance. As if they were projections.

The torrent within each skeleton moves in a different direction, as if they were each pinned, fallen, dying beneath a waterfall somewhere far away.

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