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  • Dr.Pragya Suman

Poem of the Week

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

In the poem SOULCRAFT we see the boundary is effaced which marks the mystical seams between the mundane and ethereal world. Poetical images are so vivid and magical. Transition boundary-- at which Emily Dickinson used to sit and pick the mysterious pearls letting them drop in verse in the solid world. But here in the poem written by John McCullough we see the fluidity of worlds ---physical and metaphysical. The background is enmeshed with transcendental mood and images are swimming trailing and lengthening in infinite.

Stoical scalpel has sliced the fleshy fabric!


It’s true: there is a light at the centre of the body.

If i could, I would lift aside a curtain of this flesh

And demonstrate, but for now it is my private neon.

It is closest to the air at the certain moments,

Like when buttercups repair a morning’s jagged edge.

Other times, a flock of days descends

And my soul flickers, goes to the ground.

Without light, I am all membrane; each part

Becomes a gate. I pour across each margin

And nothing has enough hands to catch me,

My teeth knocking so fast I daren’t hold any piece

Of myself near in case I start a banquet.

I’m only eased by accident. On the drenched path,

I pick up snails and transport them to safer earth

Then feel a stirring. I watch as rain streams

From lopped-back elms, my face teeming with water

And--hello stranger--my soul glides to my surface

Like it, too, belongs there, like a bright fish rising to feed.

By : John McCullough

Foot note: The first line of this poem came to me in 2003 when I was being looked after by my parents following a nervous breakdown. I couldn't speak at the time but managed to scribble it on a piece of paper. I found it 15 years later when writing Reckless Paper Birds.

Biography: John McCullough lives in Hove in the United Kingdom. His latest book of poems, Reckless Paper Birds (Penned in the Margins) won the 2020 Hawthornden Prize and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. John’s other awards include the Polari First Book Prize and his collections have been named Books of the Year in The Independent, The Guardian and The Observer.

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