This poem was one of a set commissioned for “Bardcore” to be written for the James Lee Byars exhibition in Milton Keynes Gallery as a result of being commissioned as part of Poetry Kapow to write and perform poetry for an open arts event at the Gallery run by Lost & Found. The piece that particularly caught me was “The Breath of the Soul” (a large, hand-carved sphere of white marble) and the direction of the piece developed, I’ve no doubt, as a result of a friend passing on.
The Breath of the Soul
The breath of the soul is flawed,
Scored with all the indentations that caressed,
That brought it here, that made it what it is.
The sigh that is stone rolls, as it must
Making tracks, as it goes, in the dust -
Black and white and, later, gold.
The essence of the stone is the groans heaved
In its weaving, the sweat poured,
The flesh and blood beaten against its surface,
The heart worn with each sharp stroke
Shaping the whole, bestowing grace,
Carving a face into this change of nature.
And when the last stroke is taken,
The stone rolls to the centre of the room
Where all turns on its axis for a while.
A sweet and bitter while.
Until time passes and dust falls,
Changing its shape again, softening its shadow.
For perfection is in the making
And when the breath stops...
The sigh is still.
And all that is left of the stone
Are the tracks that it made as it passed
through the dust of a world
Which keeps on turning.