Caught by the River

Murmur: A poem by Jelle Cauwenberghs

Jelle Cauwenberghs | 28th February 2016

Starlings tussle
In the roadside grass
Fury ripples marram in
Their black sheen I saw
The stars themselves.

Thieves. From tarmac
They raise their treasure,
A crescent moon of seconds.

Windows multiply the
Glare of wings that graze,
Sieve, and rake the furnace,
Their luminous bed. Enormous,
And evanescent.

Copper and tin, planetary metals
Poured millennial red
From a caldera churn
Clouds scraped to straw over

The rim of vase, the lip
Of risk puckering to a singularity,
Rushed back to
ākhir al-nahr, the star of first

Sigh, and the collective rush
Is the spin of a whale, hay dust,
Attic space hit softly by the sun.

A spontaneous, smoky alchemy
Flush plumage singed gold
No human hand can reproduce,
Or illuminate, frame in acanthus, only
Prostrate as their host ascends.

Water scared from a stone
Flows back; the grass is
Still soaring with the
Print of their passage. Blessed.
Every cove you didn’t occupy
Becomes their residence. No
Page of motorway is safe.

Your gaze is all
That can hold it all.
The fugitive palace,
The crucible tipped as
The ceiling caves in.
We have
One word for them when
They are here, and not here.
That sound on the verge
Of the visible. Where
Words begin.

Jelle Cauwenberghs on Caught by the River