In the Timeless University

by David Clarke

after W. S. Graham

He lost a lifetime in the stacks
and special collections, heard only the chafe
of thumbs on that card index,
the dry spine of an archive whose words
made no voice in his head, dropped
instead like pebbles into a mineshaft.
But what was the work of the Chair of Silence?
Not to fathom that void between
the stars – it had its own deep tides
of noise. Nor to disappear entirely.
He took as his field those intervals
between the world’s clutter; between
the mind and the language that spoke it.