Acts of Creation
In dark caves the hand draws floating creatures
with finger-paint grace and smoky pigment:
half is ground quartz and manganese dioxide,
half is calcium phosphate, pestle-powder
remains of the beasts’ own bones and blood.
In the Paris Jardin des Plantes sits Nabokov’s ape,
trained and coaxed month on month on year
to recognise images and to use the pencil:
free at last with blank paper and charcoal
he immediately sketches the bars of his cage.
All these symphonies, these ballads, sculptures,
tragedies, comedies, dances, films, poems,
string quartets, paintings, novels, songs:
from fecund compost of our own bones and bars
creation springs, cage defined and marrow-deep.