Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Weathering poems

Three days so far since my wild session of chalking poems in the park on Saturday afternoon and there is still plenty to read. I've been detouring through Cafler Park on my way to and from work to check out the survival rate of my words, and every day I've been pleasantly surprised. A couple of poems are still almost intact. A couple have disappeared almost without trace, with just a few flecks of pigment clinging to the pavement. Most poems are marked only by a few words left legible and some faint traces that probably only I can interpret.

There has been one light shower that I know of, but mostly conditions have been frosty and clear so I've been trying to make sense of why some have lasted so well, while other's haven't. It's a lot to do with exposure to weather and traffic. Poems in sheltered places and words on vertical surfaces are doing better than most. Also I think the vigour of application has much bearing: the poems I impressed into the asphalt using all my body's strength are hanging in there, where as the poems that were written with more grace and speed are almost gone.

I'm really enjoying reading the remaining fragments aloud as I walk around the park: hearing how the words fit together in ways I didn't intend and which bring new meanings to light. In a couple of places, traces of a poem written on Friday are still legible, entwined with a different poem written on Saturday, creating interesting juxtapositions, if not always ones that please me.

There is one poem left in particular, the longest one, which stretches right around two sides of the library and half way behind Forum North. I like reading the surviving words of this one backwards, walking from the end of the poem, written in a long string of words (which is mostly intact) to the beginning written in stanzas (which has been heavily trafficked into near obscurity). From memory, that experience goes something like this:

asleep I fall until
hear we animals night about
stories me tell you warmth
for together leaning
surface pool's across slowly pass reflection
its watch to us rouses
and late rises moon shaped egg
light of tongue flickering a fire
small a mouth canyon's over
draped curtain spangled becomes sky
navy, cobalt, mauve through falls
dark water glassy deep of pool
round by camp make and
packs our off pull we until
shadows lengthening through
on walk we
upwind still and quiet
willows the dapple rest midday
walk hand in hand
gnarled ancient tree trunks
rust and sunlight
maroons of a veteran's faded ribbons
when you are ready
imagine the warm breeze collecting
embrace, imagine
tender swollen
unpack your bags looking
put my toes to the very edge

No comments: