Monday 15 April 2019

Let Every Particle of Dust Breath Forth its Joy

For Raef, with thanks.

Europa gazes to where the sun is setting
Dust of dusk on Giant Taunter’s day,
Traditional for many kinds of meetings
I hike across the city; down a hill,
Along a railway line; under the ring road
Where they take refuge from Thorsday rain,
Through not so busy plazas of the brutalist period;
Mall trickle with folk whose homes are rucksacks,
Uber drivers, cyclists, students, tired workers;
But none as trangressive as I: I’m going to an evening of poetry!

Let every voice be heard,
Be it of pain or joy, innocence or experience
Cleverness, belly laughter or mind blown surreality,
Let each one be honoured equally.
May we all discover the truest voice we have
That the heart sings through, whatever weather
Might assail it; may we all
Be at one with our microphone stand
& even if not a single person understands
What it is we are trying to say,
May we successfully invoke The Muse,
Banish fear & discover through words what is beyond words.

The world is a better place that we are free
To gather & speak our diverse truths tonight
As passionately & as beautifully as we can
Then go our separate ways, content that we are part of something
Larger than ourselves that we just can’t see
But feel in our body, breath & mind
Some kind of transformation.
And when they use our atoms to make new lives*
Let every particle of dust breath forth its joy.**

* Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials
** William Blake, Europe: A Prophecy

My friend Raef Boylan is an editor of Here Comes Everyone an excellent Coventry-based, bi-annual literary magazine of poetry, fiction, articles and artwork. He is also one of the best comperes I've seen in his role as MC at the open mic poetry night Fire and Dust in the Big Comfy Bookshop on the first Thursday of the month. Recently he commented that there are plenty of poems with fire in them but not many about dust.

I immediately thought about Philip Pullman's dust & his reference to William Blake also using of the word in a mystical sense. The two great men are honoured in the final lines of the poem.

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