WONDER OF THE DAY / Against Geologies

It’s love versus the eons in this pithy poem by David Sutton

In the 1990s, when I worked at MIT, a student used to walk around campus wearing video goggles and a heavy backpack with a tall antenna sticking out of it. Someone told me he intended to record every second of his life. I don’t know how far he got, but I presume those early years are buried in a morass of incompatible video formats and deteriorating media — or soon will be. Even if some future archeologist can decipher what the man saw, there will be no trace of his thoughts and sensations, or what it felt like to be him. It doesn’t matter how many artifacts we leave behind; nobody can reconstruct the experience of living — let alone the experience of loving, the topic of “Against Geologies,” by the British poet David Sutton.

A former computer programmer living in Oxfordshire, Mr. Sutton creates musical and disciplined poems, many of them presented on his website. “Against Geologies” is a miracle of rhyming couplets in iambic tetrameter (you know the scheme — “Come live with me, and be my love; / And we will all the pleasures prove”). There’s not a forced rhyme in the bunch. And the language is so beautiful it makes the obliterating effects of time a little easier to contemplate.

— David Brittan, curator & editor, The Necessary

Against Geologies

By David Sutton
For those who prefer to listen: David Sutton’s “Against Geologies,” read by David Brittan

Our seconds rain like shells of lime
To build great thicknesses of time:
We watch the secret moments fall
Anonymous beyond recall,
Since who will look for you and me
In those white beds of history?

But if they do, with prying pen
When all our now has turned to then,
Let them not think, because they find
Some particle we left behind,
They know the vanished sea above
That was our salt and sunlit love.

These words I leave for them to learn
Like lily’s stem or print of fern
Are but our shadow in the stone
And all the rest is ours alone.
Then what a world of touch and talk
Shall lie compacted into chalk.

Copyright © David Sutton. Used by permission.

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