States of Poetry Series Two - Victoria | 'Empirical VI' by Lisa Gorton

A single cloud now climbing the hill towards me
and the blue-grey shadows in it are in the shape of a fire
and all about it brightness where the light pours through –
Uninterrupted its shadow moves over the craving grasses –
pale seedheads now shaking out light – as with a sound of wings
the scrubwrens scatter out of head-high rubble
overrun with weeds – tussock, milk-thistle, dry stalks of fennel
in its wind storm ratcheting – instant and abyss – how all this
pours through the front of now into that self-lit scene persisting
out the back of all description – Here where the cloud
rebuilds itself like a room in a mirror – silent, foreshortened, safe –
and loses nothing, being composed of gestures – A cloud
which even now is flooding in one unbroken wave
back through the gulfs of light – This room in which the artist sits
making a cloud of ink and charcoal, smearing the page with shadows
to liberate the absence that is there – Like light through cloud
it feeds itself through her, the skin of her hand, white ink of the page
and newspapers spread out across the table, battening over the hospital
and the children’s prison – Numb, ignorant rain falling from it
without sound now the way it falls through mirrors in
light-like lines closing a room in glass – She cuts the page in strips,
pins them to a wall, would have them stained with hands –

Lisa Gorton

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