back toJacket2

February 2004  |  Jacket 25  Contents  |  Homepage  |  Catalog  |  Search  |

David Howard


(for Kathleen Fraser)

I would have stayed at home as
if a bystander plated in gold


The diaspora: atoms and opinions on atoms.
You cannot leave in order to demonstrate you are
leaving. Where thinking is thanking the Lord

your question passes its answer
throughout a land that is not yours yet
heartland. Consciousness is always

consciousness of something —
it is outside of itself. How do you touch your insides?
How does she feel, body bruised

beyond recognition. One slit-eyed sunset.


Because it had no option the rain
fell. Because she was born that way the woman
sank on her knees to give thanks for conceiving. Because.

You were too busy reading the newspaper, doing
the dishes, sprinting for the bus to wonder whether
or not. A sea-green Italian shirt fitted

the indifference of your body to the day, a day
when shrewd looks frugal and frugality fatal
unless your heart has a pacemaker.

Beyond recognition, one slit-eyed sunset:






‘from White into all Colours’ (Ashmole, 1652)
free of the need for
His forgiveness, your reward

while mercury works on sulphur
familiar as the four elements or
speculative, foreign, still

‘aiming at final causes’ (Aristotle)
in order to transmute
lead to gold, gold to tincture

‘the body red invariable’ (Ripley, 1591)

vinegar or urine
removed earthly superfluities: the Virgin
with the fugitive fixed

one thing above all others
‘in this Art, the chief error is haste’ (Bonus, 1546)
as if the surface were eternal

darker than ‘the Philosophie of turned shapes’(Golding, 1567)
as the labyrinth without Ariadne’s thread
three in substance and one in Essence’ (Ashmole, 1652)

‘the body red invariable’

Readers wishing to print this page
may need to choose ‘Landscape orientation’
from their printer’s list of options.

February 2004  |  Jacket 25  Contents  |  Homepage  |  Catalog  |  Search  |
about Jacket | style guide | bookstores | literary links | 400+ book reviews |

Copyright Notice: Please respect the fact that this material is copyright.
It is made available here without charge for personal use only. It may not be
stored, displayed, published, reproduced, or used for any other purpose

This material is copyright © David Howard and Jacket magazine 2004
The Internet address of this page is