The Moving Image

By Gareth Evans

Lines for Jonas Mekas after viewing his Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania*  

“There are homes in the world where people cannot sleep.”


A man then
across a roof
and walks
and does so
and walking

the poem is the walking

and the light that found the walk

and the shadow that remains


a ceaseless gazing into the good light of the world, and the friendship of it all, the outstretched hand, the warm palm of the lens


the informed moment the enduring moment the ‘precise reality’ the moment of the moment onwards



the looking that unfolds in time
like the cloth opened together
over the long grain of the table

the meeting at the screen

across the years
and we eat

the bread
and what it means in all the tongues
the wine
and how we taste its light


“What do we do, coming home after twenty five years? Of course, we went to the well to drink the water… No wine ever tasted better.”


fire of the wood that made the water warm

where do we belong?

only in our arms

in the gathered shadows of the long held times

and in the mind we left behind
the hope of decent earth

when do we belong?

In the once-lived life that lifts like a swift

over the eaves
of evening come


“Nobody remembers there was a labour camp; only the grass remembers.”


harvest of the birds
their sifting of the fallen grain
their being grain
the flocking wonder
over and above
the threshing of the field
the wheat of all that grows here
the music of this place’s breathing air

scattered notes
of birds and people somehow
briefly back

a symphony of waiting, chorale
in the heart

the sowing of the bread
across the plate

the birds, the bread
their wondrous refrain


and then, an edit in the film that shows us how the world was once and might be once again:

they sing together
in the day
the garden’s great green tree


the light

that is
that was
that will be

all of now

on the grass/land

in the world’s late afternoon


your children leave

the womb
the room
the home you make
the world

leave only the wind
ripple of their wave
their voices’ long farewell
across the wheat

the field is ploughed

into the darkening trees

along the path between
the shadow of the words

and the days’ wide open page
the moving image writes

such transports of the
light your looking found
the ancient water

new eyes for looking back

towards the gleaming season
of the earth,
the tread of now
the hallowed life

the moving

and the moving

the work that never ends


Gareth Evans

1.11.08, London

*1971/2. Screened with Jonas Mekas present and in conversation at the launch of ‘Cinema Nation’, 19.10.2008, Curzon Soho cinema, London. Thanks to Verena Stackelberg and Benn Northover; and to John Berger for clarification.