Monday, 17 August 2009

Link to Nick Pearson's poem

Nick and I discussed how words might change over time, how they might break up or metamorphose into something completely different like rocks do. This initial discussion influenced the concept of Nick's poem ‘Word Search.’ In writing it he also had in mind the 19th century geologist Roderick Murchison who frequented the Dudley area and gave lectures on his theories to packed audiences in the limestone caves. Nick was also aware that I planned to use a large roller to print my work.

WORD SEARCH by Nick Pearson

I buried dictionaries in beds of lime,
that was my single most greatest experiment.
I sent all the editions of their time under -
Longmans, Chambers, Collins, the OED -
none of them spared, no nod of favour
to popular sellers, plain English hallmarks,
puffed up versions from foremost authorities.
I bulldozered a vast lake of billions
and then, because I am a patient man,
waited through millennia as one on one,
ripple bed fellows lying in the layers,
they rubbed each other up, text to text.
Through long eras of decay meanings mulched,
words wallowed in the thickness of their weight,
ditched to mud-fudge or stood fossil-firm.

This word was a smiler, liked meetings,
the fun of the network; but knew its place.
These two shared a job, wore eachother’s clothes,
fetched and carried where some proved lazy.
But collaborators and negotiators apart,
much of what you see at this lexical face
represents the survival of the spiniest,
a clear fact I knew my methods would prove.
Tap deep and they will offer themselves up:
here is one from a weak and awkward group,
one squeezed so tight it shone above the rest -
and this here is one that fought, held its ground,
a word-stone between rocks and a hard place.