Thursday Poems: Combustion by Sara Eliza Johnson

Firstly, let me just briefly promote the fact my poem ‘Birds of a Feather’ is up at Meanjin, one of Australia’s oldest and best literary journals. It’s not so easy for me to read now, having written it a year ago, but I’m still proud I got it out there, and people can read it now.

Okay, with that said, let’s celebrate another – and far more accomplished poem – Combustion by Sara Eliza Johnson. This is a delicate poem layered with powerful imagery which has stuck with me over the past few weeks. I love the sudden and jagged enjambment, the subtle dance of it moving across the page, the merging of detailed scientific information with the poetry of ordinary moments – peeling an orange, spreading honey on toast. In that sense, it is not unlike Tracy K. Smith’s work in Life on Mars.

I keep returning to this passage:

 if each atom
has a shadow—then the lilacs across the yard
are nebulae beginning to star.

Isn’t that just gorgeous? This gentle exploration of the interconnectedness of everything at an atomic level is nothing short of beautiful and odd, leading to unexpected places, a meeting of image and thought that twists and turns but always manages to adhere to the rich and resonant theme, to dig deeper.

In short, I highly recommend it and as ever, urge you to check it out for yourself.

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  1. 's Avatar
    ktmars Thank you for another lovely to-read poem. I love how she made use of science for this. I am a huge fan of marrying science and art. :) And congratulations on having your work published.
    November 28, 2014 at 9:52 am · Reply
  2. 's Avatar
    Omar Thank you very much! For replying, as well as the kudos. I'm glad it's not just me appreciating these poems :)
    November 28, 2014 at 4:08 pm · Reply

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