THE PEBBLE AND THE WOUND


Μὴ κίνη χέραδασ – Sappho  

Patiti Point, Te Mata Hapuku,
Cobden Beach, or Cosy Nook;
wherever,
it doesn’t matter particularly

so long as there is a white noise of surf
and a visual chaos of pebbles
where I can shrink down into being a pebble
as my footsteps crunch away into the distance.

The pebble being worn smooth and round,
scentless, clean, mute, a dignified miniature
of Brancusi or Epstein in marble,

being memoryless, being cool and spherical
in the hand, the ultimate
mineral solipsist, sibling of silence,

closed, protected,
the perfect entity.

The pebble, when cast, can also wound,
the beach is a border of wounds between sea
and land.

The wound distends into being, a crimson star
flowering in its own darkening sea,
is a word, is the I.

The white stone is veined in red

is a constellation, a galaxy of arterial
rubies throbbing out into the void
with each pulse

a study in all the possibilities of red
like a jolly Vibert cardinal

the shadows move through into the world
the ancestral shades are born
dynastic pain, a red dawn

Two wounds and a gash
make a face
and a wound smiles with its jagged edges
makes a moue

wounds speak
if you have a will to listen
they sing in a billion-strong choir
and their language is pain

the pebble shatters

To speak of both wounds and pebbles
is a tautology,

both bind the world together. 

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