Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Lisa Gorton

Empirical I

Empirical I

Empirical I

A factory, the train line curving off
to cross the motorway—between them this
falling away of ground—two or three acres
where for years the council trucks brought
building rubble—mounds of shattered concrete,
brick shards, piping, steel mesh heaped here
where grass succeeds itself and
flowering weeds—and now I walk into the wreckage,
its tricks of scale—broken horizon stone
with head-high fennel, milk-thistle
stark from the mounds, dandelion the colour
of barbed wire self-seeding in wind-shale, in soft
mortar at the level of my eye, its closed array—
and it is the first place, place itself grown
inward to my sight, along the side of the house,
in the playground where dry ground
slants to the fence, out of the history of their names
where these same weeds thrive
which have made for me a heraldry of my forgetting—
tussock rampant in field azure—and set me here
in its abyss giving the bright scenes place—­­
which is to say I have not seen it yet,
a wilderness to me which is to itself single,
closed in its processes, happening over and
over though not to itself, being to itself a storm
perpetually in the front of light—
Close

Empirical I

A factory, the train line curving off
to cross the motorway—between them this
falling away of ground—two or three acres
where for years the council trucks brought
building rubble—mounds of shattered concrete,
brick shards, piping, steel mesh heaped here
where grass succeeds itself and
flowering weeds—and now I walk into the wreckage,
its tricks of scale—broken horizon stone
with head-high fennel, milk-thistle
stark from the mounds, dandelion the colour
of barbed wire self-seeding in wind-shale, in soft
mortar at the level of my eye, its closed array—
and it is the first place, place itself grown
inward to my sight, along the side of the house,
in the playground where dry ground
slants to the fence, out of the history of their names
where these same weeds thrive
which have made for me a heraldry of my forgetting—
tussock rampant in field azure—and set me here
in its abyss giving the bright scenes place—­­
which is to say I have not seen it yet,
a wilderness to me which is to itself single,
closed in its processes, happening over and
over though not to itself, being to itself a storm
perpetually in the front of light—

Empirical I

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère