David McAleavey

the mouth of the vase . . . is not a true entrance
– Georges Poulet

A vase has a mouth. The mouth leads inside. Inside the vase is privacy, an echoing, interrupted occasionally when filled, sadly sometimes, with water, and the shafts of dying flowers. Water comes from the tap, the kitchen sink. The sink has no eyes though the pipe surrounds a hole. A hole is not an eye. Your eye does not pierce the privacy of the vase. The vase’s privacy is not personal, it is vacant. Yet vacancy can be filled from time to time. Time does not “fill” the hollows surrounding us yet it seems to be everywhere. Wherever we are, we are surrounded by emptiness. To be “emptied of emptiness” is a phrase in the writings of critics. Originally the vase was empty. Silence and emptiness have come to seem the vase in which we live, and yet we cannot conceive what is being thought around us. Think again of a vase: see if it can be opened. Pull back down away the sides of the vase till everything that was inside is opened up and obvious. Now you have a kind of plate, which may be eaten from. If the vase could now complain, it would ask, Where is my mouth?