This reading was recorded by Alessandro Mistrorigo at Phonodia LAB in Venice, Italy, on the 2nd of April, 2014.

Read by Douglas Reid Skinner on 2 April 2014


—for Hilary

The idea of heaven has its attractions, I’ll admit.
Yet, what paradises we conjure to fill the picture
amount, it seems, to little more than recompense
for what, when closely examined, is a lousy deal.

As for the place that’s been slated for ropier members
of the species, the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch
intimate that death’s not required for admission:
it’s us, here, in all the tangled weirdness of our being.

The view south from Cape Point could be said to mimic
what one imagines any worthy heaven might hope to be:
serenely empty, no sign of angels or ‘the faithful’,
no gold-plated bric-a-brac or a glad-handing divinity.

That heaven has no usable synonyms suggests to me
that nothing more perfectly represents it than a blank page,
a pen held in abeyance from gravity, and a mind emptied
of all its idiosyncratic obsessions and waiting only

for something resembling a salt-laden onshore wind.

from Heaven: New & Selected Poems (Cape Town: Left Field Poetry, 2014).

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