Untitled III

from Untitled and other Poems 1975-2002, Wild Honey Press, Bray, Ireland, 2004.

 

And in too many places too near or too soon
all around us even behind       when we turn

many many small movements
uncertain at first and then

whether it is or has within it
imagine what that would mean

*

To come here is to know it again
as if nothing had changed
and all that had happened in the meantime
was of no consequence had no import
for this place       the paths the trees
the light falling through the silence

*

Which is no more than to say

and yet with the capacity to work its way
into spaces we have only just thought of

movement       how do we know
one thing following from another

might or might not and anyway if it did

*

To find stories for these trees
narratives of their foliation
some reason for density

few things resist interpretation
defend themselves successfully
against comprehension

and it is all in the air somehow
hanging       trapped       with nowhere to go
suspended above these deep indolent rivers
with branches trailing       fish lying in pools

*

One thing flowing from another

to where       in some place one imagines
it will stay
come to rest finally
some kind of destination

beyond which one does not go
or cannot go       or has no need to go

*

Whether it is or has within it

such substance as cannot be imagined
who knows where it all goes

many many small movements

what light there is
draining upwards and away

voices       a shiver in the air
time       the particular

*

Each time a little or a little more

all these movements gathered into one shadow
listen       wait       do not

and to find some history for them       something
that they lack       without which they seem
curiously superficial
merely what they are

*

And for all we know
might be so again

breaks down       repetitive       not long
one thing flowing from another
imagine what that would mean

why does it repeat       this of all movements
there is not one day but I have in some way tried

believe me

*

Where if it did       and if it did

no one remembers the beginning
no one understands the end

many many small movements
long casts of shadow

what crosses its path or field of vision
and is as quickly forgotten

*

Which when it came was not because
one thing following upon another

and after that

the silences handed down
as if in a long line
without a word

*

Soft       arrange       order       classify
uncertain at first and then

one thing flowing from another
in the long pauses that there now are
and might be so again

adds up no doubt and over the course of time

*

Which at no point rises significantly above the rest
but extends on all sides
in every direction       in the same way

*

It is a mistake to think
that each moment should somehow be

one thing following from another

descent once again
where the path leads down

to small woods and hidden water
and all is all around
close intimate proximate

so that we pause bemused
incapable of taking it in

*

Sameness invites abstraction       sends the mind reeling

which needs above all some detail
something to keep it occupied
something to work on

*

These are small places
not worthy of a name

some outcrop or hillock
the gap between two fields

and no one has thought to name them
give them some name
which we could know them as
remember them by

*

Where if it did       and if it did

breaks down       repetitive        not long
one thing flowing from another

why does it repeat       this of all movements

and an echo as if there was space there
imagine what that would mean

*

Stretches or reaches out maybe

and there is always the idea
that it is only a matter of effort or degree

which is no more than to say

sudden lift       unaccounted for
unless it were the air that raises them
just for a moment       temporarily

and the darkness later       like a quality
soft       intangible       like qualities are

*

Where if you do it often enough
if it is repeated often enough

*

Passage from sun to cool

and the air inside like marble
on the face       the bare shoulders

in the unwonted dark of the room

a warm breeze rifling the curtains
sound of the sea the sea
where you where I where we

*

Monitoring or following       following

such substance as cannot be imagined
who knows where it all goes

but that comes wholly from the outside       elsewhere
brief exaltation       temporary       unexplained

believe me

*

Which when it came was not because

light or heat       shimmering
de-composing the visual

see       this is how it is

and there is always the idea
that it is only a matter of effort or degree

*

But suddenly is a lot further away

might or might not and anyway if it did
which is no more than to say

here not for the first time
one thing following upon another

stretches or reaches out maybe

*

All of which I do not deny

*

As if their very proximity meant something

quiet invasion of dusk
uncertain at first and then

and the going over again       all that has been done

to which place of the many there are
till we are only spaces       cries of air

*

Soft press of limbs       collusion of touch

where if you do it often enough
if it is repeated often enough

night the other way up
the darkness turned over on its back

*

Which is no more than to say
stretches and reaches out maybe

I think of it as light       quick in its movements
darting retrieving then pausing before

though often going back       briefly       just long enough
to confirm       to make sure

*

And we make plans that are never used

faint rustle of leaves       in the death wind
whether it is or has within it
this ready world

when if only things had been different
worked out another way

this day which will be like any other day
oh no

*

Not until one has gone does the other come
as if in its turn       waiting its moment

uncertain at first and then

fixes upon       does not let go
if only because

no longer ours if it ever was
I know that       I know

*

How little we speak in the dark
almost as if we were afraid
or that it meant too much       was too significant
or that someone was listening
as if we could be heard

*

Does not leave me now       is never without
when I remember to remember

in its own time       at its own time
which is no more than to say

and there is always the idea
that it is only a matter of effort or degree

*

Where if it did       and if it did

*

And does not go away just because it has been forgotten
left unattended       dismissed for a while

what comes next or at last
and slightly earlier than was expected

which is not to say
or cannot be said to be

*

This is a place reached
where or only or in what way


Geoffrey Squire (b.1942) Grew up in Co. Donegal and studied at Cambridge. Has lived and worked in a number of countries and is now retired and resident in England. Main publications: Drowned Stones, New Writers Press, Dublin, 1975; Landscapes and Silences, New Writers Press, Dublin, 1996; Untitled and other Poems 1975-2002, Wild Honey Press, Bray, 2004. Some Persian translations have appeared in World Poetry (ed. Washburn and Major), Norton, 1998.