Imagine these words etched on four walls by skilled hands
inside a calligraphy that effaced them and pointed to infinity,
regardless of what I or any other poet could have inscribed
within characters flowing out in currents of curls and loops,
our gilded vessels flourishing forth aglow with ancient light.
Envision the knots in polychrome tiles that framed these verses
and countless more swirled out here in a script whose letters
cognized as geometry when images failed to describe the world.
Blink. Shift your vision from flat crystallized squares--
turning sideways to cubes, then merging out of depth into octagons--
to a minute scale of witnessing. Eyeball blue, black, green tesserae,
like the rows of color pixels sprayed on the television screen
that you notice when you get up close and don't look through them
at the flicker synchronized with a scramble of voices.
Somehow these bits that tessellate along points, lines and planes
reveal how the walls they swarmed came to simulate a cosmos.
Gaze up at the starry roof. Don´t pretend my words matter there.
Language in time, prayer's isomorphs, this room: It's your own.
The Room That Recurs.
'The Room That Recurs,' a perfect title for this poem on the calligraphies of our souls etched on Islamic tiles in Sufi mystical lettering that bursts and disappears like sparks leaving phosphorescent trails in the air. A divine alphabet, "characters flowing out in currents..." glow of "ancient light." A history of the written word implied in the sweep of the poem, a poetry of the word: "a script whose letters/ cognized as geometry when images failed to describe the world." This in the sacred geometry of our recurring 'room': our perception, the "gilded vessel" of our bodies' consciousness.
As if viewing images of tiles in the Alhambra, zooming in until they are single pixels of colour without defined shape, "from flat crystallized squares" to "turning sideways cubes, then merging out of depth into octagons," on the "minute scale of witnessing" we see "Eyeball blue, black, green tesserae."
On the microscopic planes, we are in the abstraction of our lives of form.
The poetic vision shifts from standing before an art that effaces its makers for a vision of "infinity," from the rarefied past to the ubiquitous television screen.
When we arrive at the pixelated world of the screen and its moving images it's perhaps different, perhaps not. Look through the narratives, the stories transmitted through the medium to the nature of the screen itself, "the rows of color pixels sprayed," the "synchronized" "scramble of voices."
These "bits that tessellate along points, lines and planes" swarm to "simulate a cosmos" that may or may not be an entrance into reality any more than the Islamic temple of calligraphy that is art.
"Gaze up at the starry roof," the dome of stars. Our language swirls in time's unwinding even as our humble poem to the universe is an isomorphic prayer.
Inhabit your room (your dwelling space, where the energy of life and consciousness comes to reside) of light.
We inhabit ourselves.
When we open our perceptions to our calligraphies, scripts to limn the world.
Cosmic vision. Infinity in an azulejo, a pixel. Holographs, "prayer's isomorphs."
An affirmative and beautiful poem.
(And one of my favourite of John's poems.)
John F. Walter
Decorative Tiles,' or Azulejos, Alhambra, Granada, Spain