(Goyesco si, de Goya, no.)
– he stands under a pale sun. And the clouds
enroxecidos, around his knees.
Nameless things crawl up and down those heavily built thighs, torso,
but also, Alexanders that lost their way (instead of India, the Pyrenees).
In the black field below
souls rush frenzied towards us.
In the end, the picture was painted
by someone else. Its origin, receptions – all wrong.
Are the clouds now, more impenetrable?
The darkness, less dark?
AFRICA / BRASS
You head back.
You return, close in
to the source, hearing once more
those mud-spattered currents of early Earth; the mountains
breaking, the worm pulsating
under giant trees.
It is this flame then, seen here
kissing the mouth. Or the mouth moves to the flame,
moves to an upside-down golden candle
that burns you, more than anything.
Any understanding, partial and inevitably so
as you connect so many screens
and displays and voices and past events: like
that comment on YouTube (‘Thank
Coltrane; for making God, clearer…’) binding on an extract
from an interview with another great musician –
at the start of the 1970s,
when Steve Reich returns from Africa
he will say, or sense, that the human ear
demands the beat, the bang
(‘…more than anything’)
not those new synthesizers,
the climates electronic.
Droning cicadas, cymbals, the sound
of drums. The sobs of didgeridoos
and winding saxophones.
IN ANTARCTICA, SCOTT
In Antarctica, Scott
lies inside the smallest tent
next to bodies, dead already,
at the end of days.
inside the boundless white
he naturally turns to the edges
of things: twigs ablaze, crackling
and brown chimneys and warm chestnuts;
his fingers – the very same palm – at the side
of her swollen breast, under the wool blanket.
(There. And there, too ...
You needn’t say anything. I know.)
There’s whispering now, just outside the tent
and he opens the flap: two penguins
staring at him. They’re real as the resolve
that brought him here, and eerie
as the breaths remaining.
Souls of comrades?
One of them wears
a tiny olive-coloured backpack.
The explorer now hands over
that small wet piece of paper
And the crimson red coin
he clasped for so long in his fist.
Take them back. Give these
You needn’t say anything. We know.