Kingfisher Jade Ringing


[Image: Ai Weiwei, Case & Rebar (2014) in foreground; the names of the 5,196 school children killed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake on the wall in the background. Photograph by Ian Boyden. My thanks to David Axelrod and Jodi Varon, editors of basalt, who first published this poem along with several others on July 1, 2018.]


Kingfisher Jade Ringing

Were a bird to become stone and keep flying.

Were a bell to become feather and keep ringing.

She lay down her brush whispering,

Were earth to remain earth and stay still.

She left the brush dry without washing it.

The hairs became a solid point of black carbon

whose words were forever withheld.

—Ian Boyden

July, 8, 2016

Constellations of Humanity

Each luminous dot on this map represents one reader of this poem. As the number of readers increases, the stars begin to cluster and form an increasingly detailed constellation. My intent is to show how brightly a poem glows across our world. I welcome your light.

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