That sun ray has raced to us
at those millions of miles an hour.
But when it reaches the floor of the room
it creeps slower than a philosopher,
it makes a bright puddle
that alters like an amoeba,
it climbs the door
as though it were afraid it would fall.
In a few moments it’ll make this page
an assaulting dazzle. I’ll pull a curtain
sideways. I’ll snip
a few yards off those millions of miles
and, tailor of the universe, sit quietly
stitching my few ragged days together.
This Italian sonnet in free verse is just too delightful! So much comes to mind but not till after I watch the smash of day break; its slow easy dawdle up the interior of a room; its surprising jelly like plop into the sestet below; its final blaze as completed sonnet emerging onto this white page; and then finally a shining fairy tale. It is a compact clever little light box that is absolutely delicious. And to think, as the Scottish MacCaig used to say, he could write a poem in the same time it took to smoke two fags. Let’s start with the title, “Rag and Bone.” In the mid-19th century there were approximately one thousand rag and bone men in Edinburgh alone. They would collect unwanted household items and sell them to merchants; an industry of second hand rags such as old material, shoes, fur, furniture, metal and bone to be made into knife handles, toys, ornaments and soap. This was a world of recycling, dictated by necessity. I like to think about MacCaig scavenging through his life and making something brilliant and shiny out of what would have ordinarily ended up as rubbish. At the end of the day we are all rag and bone but not all of us are making something as beautiful, out of our lives, as this sonnet.
Extract from The Alchemy of Poetry
Elizabeth’s first book, The Alchemy of Poetry, is available now! It would make the perfect gift for someone who is interested in the world of art and poetry and history and politics and love and death and war and the sublime – because the 160 poems selected in The Alchemy of Poetry succinctly and pitch perfectly offer all this and so much more!
Get your copy and send Elizabeth your review!
The Alchemy of Poetry by Elizabeth Guy
Published by Dreaming Big Publications
Paperback; 470 pages; ISBN-13 : 978-1947381414
Genre: Ancient, Classical and Contemporary Poetry; Education and Teaching; Non fiction