“Lampblack” by Melissa Range, recited by John Poch.
Black as a charred plum-stone, as a plume
From a bone-fire, as a flume of ravens
Startled from a battle-tree—this lantern resin
The monk culls from soot to quill the doom
And glory of the Lord won’t fade. The grime
Of letters traced upon the riven
Calf-skin gleams dark as fresh ash on a shriven
Penitent, as heaven overawing time.
World’s Glim, Grim Cinderer, is it sin
Or history or a whimsied hex that burns
All life to tar? We are dust, carbon
Spilled out from your Word, a lamp overturned
Into the pit of pitch beneath your pen,
The inkhorn filled before the world was born.