RIP Matthew Sweeney 1952-2018, a poet who knew a lot about poetry's power to reshape the world.
A History of Glassblowing - Matthew Sweeney
The records show that in Shanghai
at the end of the Yuan Dynasty,
the year 1364, a glassblower blew
a mermaid that came to life, and swam
away. And in Cologne, in 1531, a team
of glassblowers blew an orchestra,
instruments and all, and these played.
Then on Hokkaido, in 1846, a blind
monk blew his own Buddha to pray to,
and the next day he was able to see.
In Natchez, in 1901, a glassblower
blew a paddleboat with gamblers in it,
one of them lying dead. And in Oaxaca,
in 1929, a small version of the Sierra
Madre was blown, with golddiggers
on its lower slopes, and the whole
town filled with gold. In Letterkenny,
in 1965, a woman blew a flock
of glass sheep, wool and all, each
of them with a tinkly baa. In 1993,
in Séte, the harbour glassblower
blew a lighthouse with its own light,
and in 2004, in Timisoara, three
glassies blew a new solar system
that they let float up and away.