By Matthew James Friday
William Blake at Felpham, West Sussex To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. From ‘Auguries of Innocence’, 1803 An unfurled question mark answers the point where infinity begins. Standing on the beach at Felpham, studying the way the sea scars the horizon, clouds pouring out in smoky angles, cracks creating all kinds of illuminations; shafting bolts of light and gloom. No wonder Blake stood here and thought the sea was talking to him, tongues of sunlight and wind and cloud fluttering through his mind. Here at this unremarkable, passable place where Human and Nature face each other, taking turns to question and yawn, the world turning under you, tides tugging at that grander part that belongs to something renewed every day, before being, waves pounding, reeling back again, a swell and releasing gift unknown in its giving. Gulls cry you back to when you saw worlds in the sand, an eternity of assembling castles by hand, then the cheering grief of waves taking away your creation. Here is the heavenly line drawn between times, stretched beyond, suggested in the shallowest of curves. The future remains uncertain, questionable For now the horizon is enough. When The Flowers Return Those first snowdrops spearing coyly, the speckled smiles of daisies, winks of colour on leaf-laden forest floors. Seeing them you are suddenly relieved of your guilt: the thought that empty fields will harden, deadened skies be your last mirror, the spindly creak of declining conversation, no summer to talk of. You can be rejuvenated again and pretend Nature does this for you, that your witness is what gives worth, that a poem is what spring needs. Universal Knots This is a struggle worthy of any split atom. You’ve probably forgotten how many fingers you needed, how many hours of quantum patience lost looping those string universes around each other only to end up entangled. It’s a bit tricky, says a Kindergarten girl and then she almost gives up. Luckily, Mom is there to keep the orbs moving: nearly there! For what galactically important purpose? So you could wear tied shoes? You never asked your gods for that. So Mom or Dad would stop stooping down to your level, enter your orbit. Who wants to grow up? A Kindergarten boy starts with one shoe and starts to bow the skill around the black holes of immature fingers. Getting there, says Mom. Einstein had to learn. Here is E=MC2 perseverance. Both Moms ask their stars how is it going? Thumbs up, Milky Way grins. Optimism, the gravity of learning.
Matthew James Friday has had poems published in numerous international magazines and journals, including, recently: All the Sins (UK), The Blue Nib (Ireland), Acta Victoriana (Canada), and Into the Void (Canada). The mini-chapbooks All the Ways to Love, Waters of Oregon and The Words Unsaid were published by the Origami Poems Project (USA).
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