Dust by Paul Taylor-McCartney

As it settles

The brilliant darkness

Of your passing

Masks each particle,

Point sharp, end of a needle,

Spliced in half, small.

As if weightless

Through time

I hurtle, hearing

Whispers, stammered breaths,

That dreadful, collective

Mournful slide into silence.

As once removed,

The whole world

Comes at me through fog,

Opaque forms shimmering,

Fizzing, dissolving, retreating,

As was often your way.

And the dust

Of that final touch,

Marks the moment

When all passed from dark to light,

Caught on tips of fingers, lips,

Crown, heart and proof of life.

As if in six months,

April Fool’s Day

Trick of the mind,

I can bring your

Songs, stories, smiles

Back from mere chalk and have them become

Clay in my hands.

by Paul Taylor-McCartney


  1. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I adore the use of verbs. The poem feels like it is constantly shifting and moving in very different ways. Each type of movement seems to encapsulate a different aspect of the relationship. I especially adore this part:
    'I hurtle, hearing
    Whispers, stammered breaths,
    That dreadful, collective
    Mournful slide into silence.'
    It goes fast with the first verb and is stopped by the enjambment which falls into a softness, a kind of hesitation. The descent at the end is brilliant and especially moving.

    However, after this point it becomes a bit obscured. The subsequent stanza has some interesting sensations but it turns into a kind of sentimental poem regarding memories of something past rather than the transformative nature preceding it. I understand that this may be indicating the malleability nature of one's memories of a loved one, hence the 'clay' imagery at the end, but I really enjoyed the sort of, purely abstracted nature of the poem. The emotions felt untethered to life or its events and had this internal power to it I wanted to see follow through.

    I am being a bit harsh but more because I was really moved by the beginning, it was really direct and incisive. I wanted to be dissected more.

    But basically I loved it.


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