The words first appeared on a lamp post
on a dirty road between a chip shop
and some tired Turkish Baths.
They nestled amongst fat careless splurges of paint
and the neon screams of get us oot o’here
and nae future.
Reading the phrase, passersby smiled
and thought no more about it.
But the words tucked themselves
into the minds
of the people
on the bus.
Two days later, the handwriting was seen again
on a wall along a cycle path
and then beside the hospital for sick children
and in a cafe toilet
and down near where the ships no longer came.
And people began to repeat it to themselves
in the early morning
on the streets.
The phrase swirled out.
It appeared on the back of schoolbooks
and on library desks.
It moved beyond the city,
was seen written on a rock
on a beach full of leaving birds,
and on a bench
beside a bus stop
in a small grey town.
It was seen carved down the curve of a mountain.
the glassblower dances
As the words swelled,
people began to talk.
A feature was broadcast on the local news.
And some were curious
and searched for understanding
but enough to understand
the rhythm that came through the feet
from earth to breath to arm,
the flow of skill,
the exhausted dogged passion
that was required for the alchemy of changing dirt
into something fluid, strong and beautiful.
The words grew.
And the City Council talked
of the cost of cleaning
but they could not calculate it accurately.
And well heeled sorts on a late night sofa spoke
of the shallowness
of modern culture
and lamented the loss
of the canon.
(but the thing about a scratch
is that you feel it
and sometimes it lets things in
and they incubate
And some academics wrote a paper on
the sociocultural intertextual significance
of urban public expression
but it was rather long,
and only read by eight people.
And linguists spoke of sibilants,
how they trace the brain with fingers of smoke.
And historians expounded on the history of glass making,
how China, ignoring it until the Seventeenth Century,
invented fireworks instead of windows.
And the phrase didn’t stop any wars
Or bankers –
there were other words to try that job.
And it was beyond this writer’s ability
at this time.
But people smiled.
And for a moment felt something in their chests had loosened
and wondered about things
that did not touch their lives.
And all this happened
because once upon a time
someone though to write upon a wall with joy
the glassblower dances