ABSOLUTE ZERO DETERMINED
Carved stone balls, very much of a size, one like a cast-iron femur tip from Benbecula, the
Outer Hebrides, all but five Scottish. I’ve just seen the MacDiarmid portrait making him look
wideforeheaded the brow incised. Here these cricket balls, one hefted maybe slightly lighter than a baseball the
leather covering a deep red, a few words in gold. Clergy, Lord of Isles and Fraser hunting
ties over my arm in the shop across from heaped blacked stone, arches and celtic, well, puddingbasin characters on
pediments like Hudibras, then way down this whitest-pale statue of Scott seated, like him adjectival.
By what is one surrounded, under what, Pope in his grotto with those shells mirrors crystal these
horse bits (Roman) in the museum of antiquities with the author of Ossian in oil and Hume a medallion, Black
with a bent U tube half-full of liquid, given the sentimental imagining of one’s production as
an environment, teeming brain. They had, first I’ve seen, long trumpet mouthpieces not too corroded
and shoes, a long cross with the edges bent up, to put on horses they think.
Here anyway is this man with pale hair everybody liked, a hotel and market named after his novel, bust of
Lord Kelvin, portrait of Kames, Dempster friend of Boswell also medallioned.
Cast axheads with steatite moulds (in the British Museum a model only for five bronze arrowheads, wax first)
the culture continuous but language has to get soupy to write your way out of debt with novels.
Hardness of fame to put kirk arches so far above your head it’s the fame itself (with trumpet and
book, as by Le Soeur in the Louvre, big as the volume Athena points the empress to in a roomsize Rubens)
Virginia Woolf’s lead bust sat low in her garden, Graham by Epstein about head high on a plinth
but neither surrounded by a halo (Victoria’s little crown) like the French caramel birdcage dessert you
mould on a bowl and never get right, done here on Prince street in stone so high it terrifies.