Shells

Jane Dougherty Writes

I missed the boat to sign up to Paul Brooke’s April poetry challenge, but I’m following his ekphrastic prompts. They are glorious! This poem is drawn from all three of them. You can see the paintings and the responses here.

Shells

Such colours, deep as prisms,
refracted through seashells
and a thousand pools of still water.

Architectural constructs, petal-soft,
unfurling with no mechanism
except the call of the sun.

Here below, we have all the beauty
a heart could desire, a mind envisage,
a world that sparks and glints and reflects

quicker than the eye,
songs woven of stamens and bird-tongue,
rivers and oceans of light.

Yet we strive, not to dip beneath the skin
of the earth’s beauty, to understand the way it grows,
but to paint it grey as the dust of dead stars,

shot through with the red teeth of flames,
ground in crucibles of our own…

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