It’s made from long shreds of dark tissue paper, this image, but to my eye it looks geological, like veins of quartz through contorted strata of rock. I briefly studied geology many years ago and I still like the language; Ordovician, Silurian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Cretaceous… They are simply names to identify the age of rocks, the periods of geological history, but to my ear they have a kind of poetry to them.

There are a few poets who have used the language; the artist and writer David Jones in ‘The Anathemata’, J.H.Prynne in ‘The White Stones’, or more recently Lavinia Greenlaw –

‘Here the bedrock is older than life/ on earth. It carries no trace of death,/ no methane or anthracite, nothing to burn./ Fiery capillaries of copper, cobalt, gold’ (from ‘A drink of glass’).

And then there’s the great Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid, with his strange combination of the geological and the political;

Red granite and black diorite, with the blue

Of the labradorite crystals gleaming like precious stones

In the light reflected from the snow; and behind them

The eternal lightning of Lenin’s bones.

(The Skeleton of the Future)

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