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    Poem: “Mind out of Matter”

    By Stephen Edgar

    January 3, 2023

    A rooftop garden,

    Of all things you would not expect to find
    Above these sunless wards,
    The failings of the body and the mind.
    Offering its unconditional pardon,
    Water records

    Itself and light
    In rippling interwoven patterns, fed
    From some recurrent source,
    And runs a copy off on the channel bed,
    Which birch leaves and their shadows in a slight
    Cross-breeze endorse.

    Reflexions teem
    Over the whiffled surface through a pond,
    And bend and almost shatter,
    Some nodding blooms, clouds wandering beyond
    The edge, and trailing foliage, a stream
    Of unfolding matter.

    And figures too
    Of those from lower storeys, who must feel
    Sunstruck astonishment
    To be up here, unwalled again and real.
    Can these bones live? What ravelling process grew
    This accident

    Of tissue in
    The skull, with which they know themselves today?
    Must matter simply fit
    Together, maybe, in a certain way,
    And mind emerges? There is the origin
    And end of it?

    What do they care,
    Watching the puzzle of the native grasses
    Broadcast to the sky,
    Where not much happens and what does soon passes,
    Sitting their rationed hour, breathing the air
    They are freshened by,

    While all of this
    Unfolds behind their eyes, emergent from
    These rooftop elements,
    Light, shadow, leaf, the fluent idiom
    Of water, and their metamorphosis,
    Alive to sense.

    Read more poems by Stephen Edgar here and here, and read an interview with the poet.


    Photograph by Wander Fleur

    Contributed By portrait of Stephen Edgar Stephen Edgar

    Australian-born poet Stephen Edgar studied Classics and librarianship at the University of Tasmania and lived in London, Great Britain, and Hobart, Australia, before settling in Sydney.

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