Our Biosemiotic Clay is African. A Poem by Ian Irvine Hobson

Graphic Semiotic Egyptian


I - Nubian Alchemy

Kemet, al kemet - the black and fertile earth
       the black and fertile origins of humanity.

Primordial mother, sister, lover, daughter

Eventually, by laws of genetic entanglement,
       (go check the mitochondrial record)
we (re)trace the contours of her absence
       to the mountains that fed the Blue Nile
       (the ice caps were glacial back then).

Orchestrated histories veil her presence
       at the base of the mountain
       at the base of your spine
       at the heart of the geometric benevolence
               that designed the oldest pyramids.

Young African woman with palettes, brushes,
       measuring tools and golden mallet. 
After each inundation she calculated
       a new patchwork of fields
to feed the hungry populace. 

The rich luminescence of her wisdom skin -
       as many statues attest - 
is primarily African:
       black sunrise of the written word
       black sunrise of numerous civilisations

Acknowledge her thus - for
       she took you swimming in the Nile.
Did Michaelangelo imagine the Nubian 
       Pharaohs white - like Jesus?

Back then, words were hieroglyphic images
       - phonetics yet to be invented - and
       she wrote in the glory of paint. 
They begged her
       Colour us a liveable future.

II - (Quantum) Woman Dressed in Stars

She takes you flying among the stars
       (and every vowel restored)
You sense
       habitual memory contract to a
tiny pin-point of sub-atomic energy/light
       it flares against the universal nothingness.

The hieroglyphs swirl - so many narratives,
       so many possible lives - until
fragile scintillae appear, then cluster, as though 
       glued to invisible structures.
You watch them float like clumps of possibility
       (like clumps of future memories).

Your life is fluid again -
       all good things are possible
       and all dangerous things -
her skin, like the coffins of your former selves,
       is a gallery of marvelous images.

(Seshet) = the hidden numeric order
       Our need for numbers and images and words
       to strengthen living structures

Her slim ankles, her calves, her hips, her breasts

The lovers exchange gifts: 
       charms, formulae, hieroglyphs, stories
       (photons, electrons - elementary particle-waves)
A biosemiotic exchange to animate 
       otherwise passive clay.

Do you sense it 
       the first ragged gasp of a new becoming?

 
 
Ian Irvine Photo
 
 
Ian Irvine (Hobson) is an Australian-based poet/lyricist, fiction writer and non-fiction writer. His work has featured in publications as diverse as Humanitas (USA), The Antigonish Review (Canada), Tears in the Fence (UK), Linq (Australia) and Takahe (NZ), among many others. His work has also appeared in two Australian national poetry anthologies: Best Australian Poems 2005 (Black Ink Books) and Agenda: ‘Australian Edition’, 2005. He is the author of three books and co-editor of a number of literary journals – Scintillae 2012, The Animist ezine (7 editions, 1998-2001) and Painted Words (10 editions 2005-2014). He coordinates the Professional Writing and Editing program at Bendigo Kangan Institute (Bendigo & Melbourne, Australia) and has taught in the same program at Victoria University, St. Albans, Melbourne. He has also taught history and social theory at La Trobe University (Bendigo, Australia) and holds a PhD for his work on creative, normative and dysfunctional forms of morbid ennui. Web site: http://www.authorsden.com/ianirvine
 
The above poem is an Excerpt from a collection of poems Awake in the Chamber of Darkness.The Egyptian Sequence. Publisher: Mercurius Press, Australia, 2015. ‘Awake in the Chamber of Darkness’ is copyright Ian Irvine (Hobson), 2015, all rights reserved.
Acknowledgements: ‘Hypatia and the Ruined Serapeum’ was published in Poetry Life and Times (UK/Spain) in Aug. 2015.
Image: Seshat writing. This image is in the public domain.

 
Chamber of Darkness
 
 
 
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