Rockets and Blue Lights
Close at hand to warn steamboats of shoal water,
flares like fireworks stage this catastrophe.
A palimpsest: a sail rides where once were two,
the second sunk under a quagmire of pigment,
which insists in and through its provenance.
Blues: azure, ultramarine, sapphire,
fuse frail chromatics; they babble from the shore,
where a daubed shadow holds a telescope:
no steamboat, just an implosive vortex of light,
purblind to its white hole heart.
How it beguiles, this hinter-world.
Up close, the canvas hides not quite wholeness
with brushstrokes, which despite brio, bravura,
reveal themselves as such: handiwork.
To the left, a mast-shroud ship’s translucence,
half lost in steam, spray,
once again the underpaint disclosing itself:
the tones, crude retouchings, the uppermost
layers of glaze. They shore up figure and ground,
stir the wreckage, keep it in abeyance.
To the right though is the most sundered,
most torn, and the thing itself pierces
through the multi layering, braid of authorship.
All is a gyre, which marks the brink
of memory. Fog funnelling centripetally
staves off the risk of everything folding in
on itself. All is, after all, restoration, stripping
off a surplus of harmonies, atmospherics;
staying within the frame, obeying its edges,
till all that’s left is one axis: that of metaphor.
Patrick Wright has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. His poems have been published in several magazines, most recently Agenda, Poetry London, Iota, and Brittle Star. He teaches Creative Writing at the Open University.
The Ekphrastic Review
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