The Uncut Stone

The Uncut Stone

'a stone was cut out, not by human hands' (Daniel 2:34)
'the cornerstone cut out without hands' (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho)

Sunsets blazing out of my head,
Burnt-out midnights moving on,
Nothing remains of the life I led,
Clean as the wind-swept sky, I'm gone.
Nobody loses, nobody gains
A drop of water in a thousand springs.
Not a trace of my life, not a trace remains.
I am the voice of the ancient things.
I am the audience nobody sings.

I come from the valley of the uncut stone,
A spark from the furnace in my father's eye.
I belong with the muscles of the dancing bone
In the womb of my mother in her ecstasy.
Nobody noticed, nobody saw
What being (a babe in the wilderness) brings:
The more I advance, the more I withdraw.
I am the voice of the ancient things.
I am the audience nobody sings.

In my years of cutting the linguists' key
To the door of the dungeon of the dispossessed,
I descended to the Pontiff of the Holy See
Kneeling in the belly of the human beast.
What am I saying? Give me some air!
Death is the death of a thousand stings.
The bloodier mortality, the bloodier the care.
I am the voice of the ancient things.
I am the audience nobody sings.

In the time of harvest our dust allows,
I walk in the court of the uncut stone
Formed in the market, shadowed by trees,
Circled by water, the sun and the moon.
Nobody prosecutes, chairs, or defends
The court of the stone of the uncut wings
Of the whole of the harvest nobody ends,
I am the voice of the ancient things.
I am the audience nobody sings.


from Damnatio Memoriae: Erased from Memory (Enitharmon, 2004), copyright © Sebastian Barker 2004, used by permission of the author and publisher

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1Tilty Mill

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2The Green Aphis

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3The War of Watch and Pen

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4Bluebells

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5Shockwaves

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6The Walled Garden

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7On the Rocks

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8Before the Time of the Sundial 1, 3, 4, 8

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9The Hand in the Well

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10Go, Gracious Words

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11People

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12Poetry

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13Justice

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14The Light on the River

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15In the Cradle of the Poets

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16Visitation in the Mountains

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17Daughter

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18Spring Day Near Reepham

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19A Sealed Box for Xanthi

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20Strike the Lovely Dumb

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21Undone by Love

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22Drinking Song

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23A Love Song to Eros

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24Being Here

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25The Sage of the Cambrian Mountains

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26The Dancing Crocodile

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27Curriculum Vitae

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28Katie

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29A Book

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30Young Woman Dancing

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31A Small Ballet of Light

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32The Lilies of the Field

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33Sex

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34Take hands. The moon

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35On the Anvil of the Tongue

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36The Visitors

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37Tell of the Sad Derangement of the Mind

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39Holy the Heart on which We Hang Our Hope

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40In the Valley of the Moselle

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38Athenagoras

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41The Rites Mysterious

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42The Uncut Stone

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43The Conscience of the Real

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44Walk with Me

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45The Fluting Trumpeteer

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46The Elderberry Tree

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47The Articles of Prayer

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48Rosaceous Wonders

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49The Stranger in the Pass

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50For Eddie Linden on his 70th Birthday

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51For Glyn Hughes on His 70th Birthday

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52Spirit of the River

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Books by Sebastian Barker