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The Indistinct Path

By Ben Tufnell

A web of mist hangs

a surprised bulb of sun

above cliffs painted

with ochre and copper,

streaked with red wine,

and below, a pewter sea.

We wander a way

across an old map

baked brown and dry.

I make a poem,

putting one foot in front

of the other,

stirring up clouds

of dust and pollen:

constellations of remote

stars spinning

in ancient sunlight;

aeolian motes.

And then; a beach

strewn with small signifiers,

a tracery of presence,

pieces of histories:

a shoe, a feather, a bone

some writing.

The wet horizon

is as indistinct

as the thought

that streaked across

the sky; a bird

through your eyes

just as you blinked.

A passage through space:

the words on the page.


Ben Tufnell is a curator and writer based in London. Poems have been published or are forthcoming in Anthropocene, Entropy, Fire, La Picioletta Barca, Rialto, Smartish Pace and Terrible Work, amongst others. Tufnell has published widely on modern and contemporary art and his most recent book is In Land: Writings About Land Art And Its Legacies (Zero Books, 2019).

More of Ben's work can be found here.


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