Emblem 54

Information and materials

Materials: Inks

Ex Machina

For Aristotle, marble’s motley
held gobs of our first matter;
pieces  of God’s still-fluid mind
while He dreamed up Fortune

Book-makers painted her face
on gum-dragon, alum ox-gall,
flea-weed and carrageen moss;
it moved on these new waters.

With such ink, a pen feathers;
a quill puns itself into a swan.
The twig in its beak-nib bursts
into marbled leaf, marbled tree.

Its bark is our word for book,
this book our vicar’s machine;
he trusts in its divine engine
for Providence of sentences.

His next sentence turns astern,
spilling its time, as the puff ball
of our vicar’s name spills stars.
Every star goes forth and back.

Goes back and forth, multiplies
like spiral galaxies, or live cells
combining in a microscope lens.
Art is the matter; matter, art

His wild words whirl and whorl,
spinning from Fortune’s wheel.
A book-maker clears his throat,
gobs into the marbling trough.