Image by Jan Kemp

Blown Glass

Blown Glass

‘At room temperature the tendency of glass to flow has been arrested or slowed down to an infinitesimal rate, the result being that it passes for a solid.’
The Technique of Glass Forming, Keith Cummings

The workshop is an old garage
half underground, half windows
where kikuyu grass presses green
flames. A couple in boiler suits
make preparations at the kiln mouth
manipulating a bulb of molten
gather at the end of a rod.

It must be 1000 degrees Fahrenheit
in there. He pulls out the iron,
waves it tenderly, a smokeless torch,
then marvers the soft rock on a table,
and against his bandaged arm.
She breathes. Gently. A bubble forms.
The sign of her work, its freehand.

He dips it in a water shape,
turns and works the dull red mass
of pure silica sand and soda
on the wet cherry wood block,
turns and necks, then steps back
to the furnace for more layers,
adding shards for schabo technique.

Annealing. To deal with the strain
of uneven viscosity. Rearranged
atoms settle so as not to crack.
On the shelf, vases, goblets, urns
trailing lines of colour, cloud bowls,
sun, moon and earth for an ashram,
all shining in the incisive morning light.


‘Blown Glass’, uncollected, first published in the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive, © Briar Wood 2004, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 2004.

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