Mary MacRae’s second collection
published Aug 10 by Second Light Publications. See order form (pdf file) for discount offers
and new recording:
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This month marks the end of our 10th round of the online Poem of the Month Competition. Founder and co-ordinator of Second Light, Dilys Wood, has selected the Overall Winner for the year, Dark Matter, from a long poem, Beginnings by Daphne Gloag. Daphne’s recording of the poem has now joined our slowly-growing digital archive.
It was tough to choose again this year, from excellent poems all tackling fundamental issues in an oblique way, using striking language – Daphne Goag’s poem included. This is about the connectivity of lovers, comparing this with the invisible matter (‘dark matter’) operating through gravity to hold the galaxies together. Even so, the poem is presented in a direct, unpretentious way – a rare achievement, as large issues can lead to heavily metaphorical and over-selfconscious writing. The lovers drive back from visiting a gallery or museum, chatting. This almost ‘thow-away’ narrative touches on issue after issue relating to creativity and love, leaving the powerful impression that individual lives are part of a significant whole.
That Volvo must be doing 70, I said
as we drove home from the museum. Words
as bridges, the road smooth as thought, sun low,
its brightness undone. Not so much traffic now.
Words as cushions. The engine’s so quiet, you said.
It was a kind of peace.
What did you like best today? I asked you. –
Well, the wise men – their huge star – on that ivory…
oh look at that, I knew that car would pull out.
My silent agreement merged with the quiet.
Long as memory it seemed, the road:
it could have gone on for ever, knowing nothing
of the souls it carried.
Today, I said, won’t last for ever
but our poems will remember it.
Clarity of being, bright surfaces
plain to see. Nothing to explain, except the comfort
of the banality of breath, except the ease
of words and silence
smooth as our speed,
except the way
two beings were held together by their hidden life,
just as in the galaxies
what cannot be seen
holds together the luminous stars.
*Invisible matter – dark matter – is generally thought to be the main reason for the gravity holding the galaxies together.
Poem published in earlier version in Ambit and, as part of long poem Beginnings, in collection Beginnings and Other Poems
Listen to the poem: Dark Matter