Friday, January 29, 2010

theme of 'translation' for Helicon

Dialogue With the Dish

Bobby was born blind as paper,
New moon-blank and dense,
His life was a sound-scape,
A language of sense.
He drew words of feeling
With hands taught by heart
And spoke pictures through
darkly drawn works of art.
Bobby would shape out
The sighs of the snow;
He painted its slow gasps
And muffled echo.
When he heard scratching
His ears understood –
He traced grainy patterns
With glitter on wood
He claimed this was the noise
Of thought caught in his mind
Tapping tin nails tipped in white wax
The thin lines made signs.
When he heard traffic raging
He made paper maps
Of the knotted sound-ribbons
That dripped smog like taps.
Bobby used to undress
The sunset’s sprayed curves
Into visions of chalk-dust
Smudged, loud and superb.
But the friendly form
Of a silent white plate
Made him sing out a scale
As he spoke out its shape.
Its own featureless eye
Made a mirror of his
And they stood there in silence,
Neither able to cry.
Bobby, sound-sense translator,
Kept his plate to the last,
Like a dictionary of
How much sight had gone past
Uninterpreted. Then,
when the cracks crossed the plate
Bobby started to crinkle
And break with heartache.
He moaned wavy notes
As he felt the plate crying;
As it fragmented, Bobby
Began to sing ‘dying’.