Blue by Patrick McGuinness

Inspired, no doubt, by the days when the skies above Europe were clear, The Guardian gives us today ‘Blue’ by Patrick McGuinness:

Azur! Azur! Azur! Azur! [Mallarmé]
in memory of Malcolm Bowie

Azure! Azure! Azure! Azure! . . . all that was before;
before we rode it in planes or used it to park satellites,
or as ethereal landfill for our emissions. All the best skies
these days are polluted: jet-fuel-refracted intricacies
of dead air and carbon-dazzle, cyanose confetti
that we mistake for light as we mistake mirrors
for what they show us of ourselves. But the thought
of all that emptiness, its promise of fresh starts, persists . . .
and though aftermaths look much the same
we never think of them as happening in the sky.
We never think of them as starting in the sky:
only beginnings are possible in such virgin air,
we think, harvesting new breath from frictionless
blue fields, those oxygen plantations with their Boeing
ploughlines and their furrows of weightless tilth.
But each square of it is Heathrow or JFK, tailbacks
of landing lights, control-tower static, log-jams of conditioned
air and shredded cumulus. First breath, first light: the orginal
repetitions, and the sun all the more intricate in its dying back
for the furnace it was at the beginning. And it’s beginnings
that we dream of as we observe the blue, the great illusion
that every day it starts again, from zero, that perfect world-
shaped formula for all or nothing: O

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