‘This Quintessence of Dust’

Poetry / Jill Jones

So, I’m orbiting around               an average star
climbing into my insignificance               I can clap
or tap dance, drum               in the ancient
rift valley, the breast               the eternal child
high kicking its way               past the heliotropic

cheer the beauty of               retrograde motion on
a tall clear night               Sirius and Canopus
close and high Crux               between the calculations
I don’t understand relationships               past human, more
beautiful, more than true               but I write
poems for aliens to               bypass in their
own quintessence, the algebra               of dust, that
is outrageous, exponential, inexplicable               receding horizons, paradoxes
alone and not alone               and love will
(what will love do?)               (love will …)

There’s nothing fair in               this, although brightness
equilibriums, fallings, wobbles, mean               we’re not in
this quite together, though               we are brighter
than fair, it’s not               just otherworldly entertainment

particles burn
a moon rises

predictions predict
earth was blue

Jill Jones’ most recent books are Breaking the Days (Whitmore Press), and The Beautiful Anxiety (Puncher and Wattmann), which won the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry. Her work is represented in a number of major anthologies including the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature, The Turnrow Anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry, The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry and the forthcoming Contemporary Australian Poetry. Her work has been translated into Chinese, French, Italian and Czech. She is a member of the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, University of Adelaide. In late 2014 she was poet-in-residence at Stockholm University.