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Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Idea of Beauty (Spoke Itself)

Thank you to John MacKenzie and Selina Rajani—John for saying go ahead and Selina for packaging it up so nicely.

The Idea of Beauty is one of my most favourite poems (and it’s featured in Sledgehammer, published by Polestar). I heard John read this in the hallway at Raincoast Books and it has stuck with me.

The Idea of Beauty (Spoke Itself) by John MacKenzie

I have been waiting here for you since
the stars first leapt into the sky
since before there was water sprung from fresh rock
(its first & longest music a metronome—
beat after unvaried beat falling like hammers of zombied blacksmiths)

I have been waiting here where
there were no flowers & the rocks were sharp
the soil odorless & dense,
no air pockets, no tunnels of worms winding
under roots of grass

I have waited here as minerals & salts turned to algae & coral
in the factory din of water & wind
as the assembly-line sun flung super-cooled windsurfing dimetrodons
among giant treeferns & monochrome blossoms,
as prototype blood shifted towards red & DNA began its fall
from beautiful flux into fixity and self-replication

I have waited here glacially for you
as the whispery respiration of trees built air
while whole forests fell into peat bogs, became stones
while the beaded sweat of ancient lives accreted into diamonds
& the idea of beauty spoke itself in the lush green syllables of your eyes

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