Matryoshka - Singing with Flints


Matryoshka begins with Singing with Flints, a fragment from the Mesolithic Era about the woman who spins her threads as she kindles her fire. The narrative has the overarching image of a textual figuration receding into the layerings of the chronological distance.


1
Singing with flints

The flints in Croyle (or Crow’s) Hill above the little Dart tributary to the Taw
where once Devonian ancestors walked and loved in the burning circle

are shining
she with them built fires
striking flints
for the first flame in January
when even with furs
her family is shivering with cold & numb
fingers strike again again again
composing words with strikes
each flame speaking
a discourse
she is struck with her flaming vocabulary
her only dictionary and thesaurus that which is exchanged
hand to mouth  camp to camp
voice to voice & echoes reflecting eddies in the dark
yet she knows as many words
which ones to choose as she knows the kinds of flowers & plants to pick
those that will charm & heal   that hurt & kill
  the selection is the same
she hums
the fire is lit
her children run up from the stream below
huddle beside her & her fire
she will recite to them they will learn her spells
and pass on up the years to their descendants and those to come
one day several centuries to come
an/m/other one mother will write the poem down on a wax tablet
and ...