embracing emptiness-poem joe cribb

The Celestial String 

A string of cash to pave your way.
A string of cash to light your night.
A string of cash to make your day,

To flood the night a moon so bright,
Each coin to shine in this wonderland,
This blaze of light puts stars to flight.

Across the sky in an ecliptic band
Sun coin and planets follow moon
A string of colour, cash in hand,

In time with copper compounds strewn,
With cuprous black and cupric red,
With carbonate blue and sulphate green,

As sharp a string of steps to tread,
As sharp as landing on a copperhead,

From where did all these coins spring?
Opening time at the treasure store,
As time will thread them on a string.

Two thousand years roll in your hand,
Royal blessing on the worthy poor.
Each one counted, like stars or sand.

The ancient kings of China’s yore
Cast rice bowl filling copper rings
From earth stored green or blue ore,

Drove out poverty through coin that brings
Heaven’s round holding earth’s square hole
A cosmic gift fit for buying things
Rolling treasure stringing the eternal pole

From hand to mouth from dole to bowl.
What words can tell each coin’s mould,
‘Half an ounce’ from the ‘money spring’,
Flowing out hot then broken out cold?

‘Five grains’ spreading out beyond its ring,
Five colours spreading across each line,
Across the lines from which meanings spring.

New blue Tang ‘opening treasures’ shine.
Another opening cuts by string through crust.
Grey-gold red-green, lurking behind, entwine.

‘Quiet bright’ and ‘prosperity follows’ dust
Of Song fades, blue Ming’s ‘noble luck’ runs away,
Qing to ‘bright heaven’s’ ‘joint control’ rust

From here to Nippon, Koryo and old Annam’s bay 
Where ‘bright fortune’ makes its way to dull decay

From earth’s square, holed in heaven’s round,
Mismatched diamonds cross-cutting edge’s rim,
Now cog-marked horizons hold the sky as found.

Within and across the sky shadow moons all skim
Where cruel corrosion attacked the buried string
Marking coin on coin another edge’s rim to trim.

Crescent shapes and crag shapes fire kindling 
Planet tones and stardust seen in muddy mire
Coins cast in puddle mirrors lie cosy cradling

High circling heavenly beings in the cosmic round 
Falling falling to slow burial in our earthly fold
Earth-bound ore cast up to fly then fall to ground

Into earth’s square cold, waiting for miners to behold
Malachite green, azurite blue or chalcopyrite gold.

Joe Cribb