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Idea's Mirror
Potes & Poets, 1999


Taking its title from a sonnet sequence by Michael Drayton (1609), Stephen Ratcliffe's Idea's Mirror explored how words might be made to register the state of things (outside the window, inside the mind); how writing might enact the relation of events in space as well as time, not words only but the action that words perform on the page and in the air; how each line on a page might be a poem in itself, connected to but also separate from the lines before and after it; how the poem might move from physical ("body on the left") to metaphysical ("another system"), action we can't see (idea) to action we can (mirror)--action whose exterior surfaces reflect an interior (off stage/ invisible) action which, as Heidegger suggests, "becomes present as it lingers in the jointure...between a twofold absence."

* * *

light in the window, eyes

closed, how it fades

an airplane, apparent sound

after the shower, which looks like

hair on shirt, after which

mouth opens, teeth

white, how he puts

on her coat, going

like thought, a letter a day

drives off in a car, another

car in dream, wheel stuck

in chain, which is red