Robert James Berry


I make a
stark monochrome sketch

Then throw the clay
Turning my fingers
To mould four senses
Pedalling the treadle

Last I hang the lips
Hook the nose

I am spattered with clay
Flush with creation

The head is put to rest
under damp cloth

I sleep with crossed fingers

Cut from its pedestal
The muscles have stiffened
The mouth pouts

Suddenly I have
Gouged the eyes

Brought my hands together
and twisted the living thing
into a slimy lump

Again the wheel is turning
With the whole of my hands
Drawing the clay tall
My feet under the spell

I am remaking my head
Not with faith
But because I must


My eyes have opened
My heart is thumping music

I hear
other musics
They do not concern me

I am unfurling my fingers
Stretching them through
crustacean-red water

My sky
has a roof muscle
I can touch the sky
With my creased fingertips

I shall
suspend my pigmented thumb
in my new mouth

I shall
and kick myself to sleep

I am miraculous
I have these dreams
This is my time

I should like things to stay this way


This paper has a blue mark,
Shall be rolled up uninked,
Lit like a vesper candle

And the draught will
Draw it out into
          the dark

Where the moon rubs a
          calloused hand
Over the chimney pot

Then when the dialogues of cold
Tear at leaf
At land's end

And you are
Watching the
Cones crackle
The peat bricks fume

The moon shall spit
This black
Back down the throat of your home

And its shadow will
Sulk by the firetongs,
A still blue mark.