Parallel: A new poem by Thomas McCarthy

Artists Christo and wife Jeanne-Claude in front of a model of their artwork Wrapped Reichstag. Photograph: Raquel Manzanares/EPA

Artists Christo and wife Jeanne-Claude in front of a model of their artwork Wrapped Reichstag. Photograph: Raquel Manzanares/EPA

 

(In memory of Christo)

Echoes, more than anything else, can create a way in,
Like when yer man wrapped the Reichstag in folds and draperies
And made it seem, momentarily, a tender thing.
The way sunlight fell on it made a sound
Of your heart beating.
Similarly, when we walked under his saffron gates
In Central Park we were young again;
And it was the same when I heard the glottal words
Uttered by that Irishman’s oily purples and greens,
All of his parallel lines like so much sheet music;
A music that deprivation makes
With a heavy lid upon it for too long –
Again, I ask you what Art is. As I did
When I held your fingers, outstretched. Your engagement ring,
I remember, against my finger created an echo, an ekphrastic.

Thomas McCarthy’s most recent collections are Pandemonium (Carcanet) and Prophecy (Carcanet)