Line poem


Line Poem,

By Jacob Voorthuis


Place a placeless point

where you might be

and another on that tree;

Measure and trace the movement

of the line

throughout a single day.


while I’m having lunch

draw a line from there

to the centre of some familiar abstraction

like “the nation”, or “truth” or “me” or "my body”

And watch it

for a while

in eternity.

And when you next have time

laid out before you,

place a point

at the centre of the sun

and draw a line

from there

to the centre of the earth.

It’s alright,

It’s only an imaginary line;

They go everywhere

with little effort.

(Even quite small people

become virile, plump gods

in the world of points and lines)

And from the sun

to an arbitrary point "A"

in the next galaxy

somewhere within its outer reaches.

Let these lines do their thing for a while

and let the points just be points.

Imagine them lit up

if you like that sort of thing,

watch them stretch and bend

under their own weight

it’ll give a pretty pattern

for a while.

Now for the big one,

while these lines and points

are doing what they do,

place a point on every person’s crown

every person in this world,

and the next;

And then

draw a line

from each point

to every other

climb, no fly

half way up to the moon,

to watch,

from high above:

How these lines warp and weft

to make a gossamer cloth,

How all these lines weave themselves

into a fine lace

with large holes

where there is no


not much.

Now to make the task ridiculous,

do the same

for every living creature.


Every molecule

every atom then,

every string.

What a wonderful thought.

Sort of exciting.

You end up

with a lot of lines.

Then rub them all out

except one

the one between…

the guinea-pig’s ear and your cheek.

After all,

I made that line just now

as I looked up from my book,

or the cat

and the dying pear tree.

Then come and have supper,

for we

have work to do;

Imagine now everything,

including an existing God

as a single line

so that there is

no volume,

no surface

just one




upon itself

to join

every single possible point

with every other.

One circuit

me and that cloud


And that tiny flake of sunlight

I saw fall upon the seagull

this morning as it swam

through the air,

past the elm tree,

shedding its seeds

to be blown about

and come to rest

in the gutter.