Silent Altar Exhibition, 2016


OCADU Graduate Exhibtion





...    
                 
There are maps now whose portraits
have nothing to do with surface

Remember the angels, floating compasses
- Portolan atlases so complex
we looked down and never knew
which was earth which was sea?
The way birds the colour of prairie
confused by the sky
flew into the earth
(Remember those women
who claimed dead miners
the colour of the coal they drowned in)

The bathymetric maps startle.
Visions of the ocean floor
troughs, naked blue deserts,
Ganges Cone, the Mascarene Basin

so one is able now
in ideal situations
to plot a stroll
to new continents
'doing the Berryman walk'

And beneath the sea
there are
these giant scratches
of pain
the markings of
some perfect animal
who has descended
burying itself
under the glossy
ballroom

or they have to do with ascending,
what we were, the earth creatures
longing for horizon.
I know one thing
our sure non-sliding
civilized feet
our small leather shoes
did not make them
...

Excerpt From ‘Tin Roof’
The Cinnamon Peeler, Michael Ondaatje








© 2020 Alastair Martin