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      home : book reviews : The Age of Wire and String by Ben Marcus

Poetry by Estill Pollock

Our lives go by to nowhere,

quick as hawk-stoop

or a shunted current earthed, yet

how can I forget the slink of pulse

orbiting downy temples?

We live with ash, cold absence

stoking grey December afternoons.

The plainsong day, the pig iron melt of days,

reminds me of the names we answered to

and this need we learn to live without.

The urn of acids,

inky salts of animals, the mineral spangled all

press to prove the alchemy

of the tongue’s quicksilver,

this ingot clutch of thigh.

Sunk in gravity

as stars wink out, sinking to

a headlock freight beyond its core,

it finishes, thus, a map of winter sky

above you as you walk away.

Uncertain, fragile, life begins

in semen trails, and requires

no further motive. Where is today,

tomorrow? Time, dainty to the death,

nimbles through these registers.

We looked out as snow was falling.

We opened blinds to the slop

of half-made crystals and the clouds

dull with solstice sun. A sleeker weather

called us, pilgrims to a south that warmed.

We built this climate as a house is made.

Sky trowelled to winter textures, timber

planed to pen-stroke grain:

drought and the slake of rain, burnt days

and wet run through the sap.

We cast each coin for luck,

tumbler nuance caught cold and called.

Love rules or blinds

through appetite or chance,

and only certain souls are saved.

Love me now and stay, or leave

still loving as the light dissolves.

We exist in lives apart from time

amended to the physical, where love redeems

and is remembered.

The world will end, with sucking gills

or loops of voicemail

scratchy as the power fails.

Articulate what rarity remains, a little love

beyond the burning rain.

Copyright © Estill Pollock 2003

Estill Pollock’s first book, Constructing the Human, was published by Poetry Salzburg in 2001. He has recently completed the remaining books of the trilogy, Decorative Initials for a Book of Hours. Recent journal work appears in Able Muse, A Fine Madness (USA), Tears in the Fence, and Oasis (England). Oasis has further issued a broadsheet of his translations of selected poems from Rilke’s "Orpheus" series.

This poetry may not be archived or distributed further without the author’s express permission. Please read the license.

This electronic version of Plainsong is published by The Richmond Review by arrangement with the author. For rights information, contact The Richmond Review in the first instance


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