#discoverpoem for The Beaney, Canterbury
A crowdsourced poem all about discovery and books created for The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge in Canterbury with artist Mark John Smith. Mark responded to the finished poem with a new artwork, currently displayed on The Beaney’s artwall!
Bonfires on the beach:
light spores descend like fluttering veils
the night burns thick with letters in mid-air
thousands of words curled at the edges
suspended in shadows
illuminating discoveries in the darkness:
the claustrophobia of ambiguity –
our ancestors’ primitive fears –
forgotten in the secrets of science
a grand design displayed to humanity.
Dancing begins on the sand
people scrape back earth
rub off the dirt
an ancient machine making spaces in time
to reveal a buried artifact:
a book, with more questions than answers.
Covert in the pages, a piece of forgotten tree bark
sea-worn into a driftwood bookmark
jewelled with coral confetti
a mosaic of colourful corpuscles
placed amongst clues and recorded facts:
the world is not flat
water turns into gas
Edinburgh is further West than Canterbury
people make the same mistakes
in both books and history
and maybe that doesn’t mean anything.
We are thumb marks
thick on the margin of white space
pen and paper people amid the book shelves
writing with diligent speed the things we discover:
mummified monkeys and pirate mermaids
swallowed memories hanging by a single word
and the exact difference between arse and elbow.
Let’s dance in the landscapes we’ve drawn
have strings of affairs with fictional characters
play peek-a-boo with poems
make a mess of writing
because ars longa, vita brevis:
“Life is short, art is enduring”.
A one liner that burns a hole in the heart
as we discover that there’s less space
between “can’t” and “can”.
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