Words of the Glassblowers

Les Murray

In a tacky glass-foundry yard, that is shadowy and bright
as an old painter’s sweater stiffening with light,

another lorry chockablock with bottles gets the raised thumb
and there hoists up a wave like flashbulbs feverish in a stadium

before all mass, nosedive and ditch, colour showering to grit,
starrily, mutually, becoming the crush called cullet

which is fired up again, by a thousand degrees, to a mucilage
and brings these reddened spearmen bantering on stage.

Each fishes up a blob, smoke-sallow with a tinge of beer
which begins, at a breath, to distill from weighty to clear

and, spinning, is inflated to a word: the paraison
to be marvered on iron, box-moulded, or whispered to while spun –

Sand, sauce-bottle, hourglass – we melt them into one thing:
that old Egyptian syrup, that tightens as we teach it to sing.