Sunday, April 04, 2004

I have just posted - wrote pasted which is what I also did - an extract from #15 of my Series Magritte to As/Is. I am uncomfortable when there are only sparse posts there. The site has given me so much joy since it started I feel I cannot abandon it even though I now have two blogs of my own.

The Cicerone is a long poem I am working on. It is a marvellous word - a guide who understands & explains antiquities - & a marvellous painting by Magritte.

To balance the ledger a bit, I'm posting - & pasting - a few more extracts here. When it's all done, if ever, then I'll post it to its proper home.

from The Cicerone

Maize &
manioc. Beans
& sweet potatoes.
Tomatoes. A type
of lettuce. Many crops,
but corn the most
important of
them all. Ground
into flour, fed to the
animals, fermented
for beer. Half of
what was left
we kept for trade,
half to the priests
at summer solstice. Corn
was the keystone
of our lives.


Yes, we knew about arches
& architecture. Some
of us had the skills
but even then allowed
the priests to tell us
how to build our houses. & we
knew about cornerstones
though to have used that here
would have meant
playing one word against another
in a way that would not please
the gods. Humour
that is invented is profane.


In back of
the temple the
priests' gardens. Sun-
in one, peyote
in the other. A path
to the heavens, a
passage to the
depths. Sacred
plots, secret texts.


Every year,
on a day we knew
but waited for
the priests to tell us
we would melt
the soft metal
& cast it
in the form
of the family
totem. Placed
on the wall
but occasionally
worn. If a boy
had been born
the previous year
a new line would
be started. If a
girl, then a space
in the father's line.

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