Dark Room


Camera obscura in Clifton Observatory, Bristol

We could be dead and this
our little limbo. Where breathless,
blind, cramped we find
a table laid with the sterling world
we'd lost. Where looking back

we see what for so long
we half-believed, people do
go on. Go on. Beyond
the lens' range, a bridge
is hung. We can't forget the gorge

or that other side where
slaves bide within the old port's
muddy shade while poets
from those cowled faces amend
their books. We postpone

our leaving, rooted
by woods, an image
of woods whipped into hilarities
of green. Not the mottled page
skimmed from planes, nor

an exquisite trick of the miniature,
this, thought elm, oak, ash
look fresh as any bouquet,
but the mind's own green clerestory
open now to air. And the view,

a swarming hive of darkness,
some unperishing, excited
engine, without limit, without us.


Averill Curdy, Poetry, The Poetry Foundation, April, 2005.