[Table of Contents]


Stephen Oliver



Forty thousand tons. Space
dust, diamond and sapphire, snips
of light, collect on earth yearly.
Dust breaks bread on our too dusty
planet; on our twice dusty planet;
on our overly dusty planet made
available to wind; dust breaks
down glaciers. Broken deserts from
sand storms deliver dinosaur dust,
highways loosen tyre dust, your
home a time capsule—our earth bent
dustward forsworn to decay.



A giallo antico moon framed
within cratered ruins. Country turned
up at the edges like a dirty postcard.
Poplars, broken spars of pine,
cypress. Dusty plane trees rubbed raw
by abrading tanks in the market
square. Two ambulances shoved aside.
Kabul. The Republic of Georgia’s
snowy mountains [backdrop to some
desolate soccer field]. A few lean
men shouldering grenade launchers pass
by and grin, heading for the glacière.


These poems are taken from an extended poem-cycle [Deadly Pollen, forthcoming from Word Riot Press, 2003] and represent an ongoing exploration of damage to our larger cultural environment, and pay homage to historical memory. The author has a strong interest in metempsychosis and the instinctual processes of recollection and ancient memory. He would recommend a new reading of the Hymn of St. Patrick as a primary illustration of this process, a meeting of the pagan and Christian minds where one is barely distinguishable from the other - for one pivotal moment in chronological time. It is a strong poem by any measure. Poetry is an exercise of loss and preservation. Certain aspects of my poetic output are a living testament to these basic tenets.