Saturday, 6 May 2017


One from the back catalogue today. This was written on 5th March 2007, when Annie and myself would set each other titles for poems for the coming week, and we'd read them to each other at the weekend.

This one draws a lot from Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea stories, and the idea that when we really change the world, be it Earthsea or our own world, we can risk upsetting the balance, the equilibrium, of the natural world. There's also a fair bit of Aristotle there as well.


The Master Hand took the jewel,
Spoke softly the illusion spell,
And made it appear a flower;
This was his art, his power:
To change the appearance,
And fool the beholders sense,
Make it seeming now a flame,
Ruby red and bright. The name
Is the key to the art, the word
Changes outer form, not inward
Essence, and transubstantiate
Matter. This is a steady state:
The true name remains, in art,
Unchanged, one thing, one part
Of the world; the great balance
Of the substance and accidence
Must be kept, or else to change
The world could instead derange
Equilibrium. Power must follow
Knowledge, serve need, and so
Keep the boundaries of the act,
Lest reality distort, be cracked,
Beyond the alchemy to repair:
That all will end in dark despair;
To light a candle, cast a shadow,
This is the maybelieve we know.

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