Sunday, April 12, 2015

ut pictura poesis.

mesopotamian pottery incantation bowl,
circa 7th c.


the words spin round the bowl, a spiral curse:
an incantation written for one house,
a text to save the house from idol, wrack,
a demon’s evil eye:    upon a plinth
it rests, the people it was meant to save
from harm now dust themselves, but it achieves

a silent chime, the same I hear from far 
away, inscribed in Farsi on canvas
brushed in black ink:  gesture involuted,
echoic, nested close enough that each
repeated Sufi verse becomes a patch,
a bit of fabric stitching up a text

or map:    a world made out of words, except
this spell is called a prayer:  o flimsy script
o dry inkstone   o unfamiliar
o my brush   let inchoate letters make 
of letters, stem and curve and dot, a plea
an orison:   exceeds the edge and fades

into the wall, the paint, whitens to light:

siah armajani, 'prayer' (1962)
at the Walker Art Center

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