The Silica And The Sand - Poem by Tony Jolley
From beyond the multi-cultural throng
Weaving and waddling its ponderous way past
Like some monstrous, badly-dressed, be-sunglassed millipede,
Its middle hunched and bunched up,
Rearguard clattering clumsily into the main body of the beast
Like a bunch of squaddies on Basic Training.
From the other side of this wobbling wall
Of congealed and compressed humanity,
Came the shrill shriek of shattering glass,
Closely followed by the ritual restaurant ribaldries:
“That’s coming out of his pay! ”
And “Butterfingers! ”,
Accompanied, to be sure by the necks of countless kids
Craning to follow the fuss and find some distraction
From the inevitable, interminable wait for waiters
And their coke, chips and chocolate ice-cream.
All this in a torrent of tongues familiar and foreign.
Yet one singularly silent voice cut clear to my ear:
The last gasp of the departing spirit of glass
Making its death-bin confession
To one who might listen
Before heading to whatever kind of hell or heaven
Is reserved for him and his kin.
According to the ancient Lead Crystal Lore
Forged in The First Furnace
In The Time Before the Breaking,
Each must recount his last encounter
Over the Sacred Rim
Before taking his leave.
I am honoured to have been his chosen confessor
And to faithfully record hereunder
The last testament of his brittle glass life.
He’d been be-lipsticked,
Smeared and smudged with a soft-sheen shade of ‘Richer Rouge’.
She had lifted him gently,
Rolled his stem slowly between thumb and forefinger,
Bedding him down, feather-light, his rim to her lower lip,
Sinking him softly into her warm, wet colour contours,
Imprinting herself upon his soul’s surface.
He felt himself raised and tenderly decanted,
Felt his white wine waters course and cascade
Over his ultimate extremity
And into her dark, oval lusciousness.
Emptied in waves faithfully obeying her desires,
She lowered him,
Seeking to prize him from her,
Her lip sticking ever-so-slightly to his sheen,
They parted in the languorous dance
Known only to lovers in the afterglow.
Perfect his foot, flush to the flat,
Yet the table seemed as solid as a sea swell
As she set him down,
The memory of her so vital
It refused point-blank to leave his present tense.
She toyed with him casually, absent-mindedly,
Running her fingertip around his rim,
Drawing from him a thrummed response
That no-one could hear below the dining din
And she alone could feel
In the slow and steady vibration
Against the most sensitive ridges and valleys
Of her fingerprints:
The sound of a glass heart breaking.
She poured herself another,
Taking care not to bring the bottle,
Glass to glass,
And shatter his spell...
[and for this he loved her all the more].
He felt himself stiffen at the swift temperature change,
The cold Muscat connecting with his innards
And settling, unsettlingly to await her pleasure.
Caught between the cool libation
And the heat of her lips
He never saw it coming;
Never knew what hit him.
Better that way.
He never knew what careless gesture
Caused his demise
And sent him shocked to slivers and shards
Into the after-existence.
Better that way.
No slow descent into the ignominy
Of scratches and scrapes,
Or the cancer of the abrasive, daily, dish-washer chemistry
In which crystal turns
Milky-white as a cataract eye.
His transparent heritage hung in the air
Like her perfumed fragrance: following everywhere.
It behoves me to leave you with his parting salutation: -
'To the Silica & the Sand and the Creator’s Guiding Hand”.
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