The world is a work of art

We place it outside us, a great mound of glittering light and | shadow

Billions of pairs of butterfly | eyes | flutter over its surface | drawn to its enigma and its | dusty, routine | splendour (for where else can our eyes be drawn but | to the world?)

It shimmers because it is | not still, because | our hearts are not still

It can never be known, because it is always growing, built into the scintillating and fluid amalgam of futurities by our | desire, our | ambition and | our exhausting love

Wild animals cross it, at dusk, this immense | cosmopolis | and stones grind through it, snails | cling to dew-tipped stalks | in woodlands or the Shogun’s gardens | but all of these inhuman moments are | made inside us, worked | from the subtle and tireless | conceptual factories where | fairy semantic labourers | dart and glisten, and in a rainy, remote | corner of the city | heaven is fired up in innumerable sparks and instantly | collapses again into | a sound of dogs barking, the doorbell | ringing

Majestic and quotidian, modest and limitless | things | just exactly as they are | are | things | as we | decide and turn them | grievously and blissfully | out of ourselves

It’s not a big deal

Heaven and loneliness | a rusting nail, the colour of cocoa, in a railway sleeper | your daughter’s | face as she | is startled awake in front of the | TV | they are all | firing and fading | although we only ever | seem to see the fire | and when the doorbell goes, and you answer, you’re glad to see | a friend

At night, the anonymous | makers of it all | lay down their ethereal hammers and | rest their heads upon their anvils and | dream

The world is a work of art


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)
(this poem, June 2012)