Over the skidmarks of the previous day’s pile-up we commuted
to the land of the dead until my car ran over the thought-fox
its eyes snarled under tyres a helicopter printed the fingertip of a lower god
pursued by the media giants, their immaterial fists pounding, misunderstood stars
a telecommunications-tower like a cigarette on the horizon, bruises of mid-term sky
swift flew the river down to an organisation amorphous and wavy as sea
not deep enough to reflect so glistened like a night creature that made scarce
each mist forgets its morning lifting the sun through the rear-view
insinuated into a meadow as clouds added the usual ramifications
thought lagging chemical rashes, washes of light, a police car as a white corpuscle
signals going so fast you only had time to get in gear before they were red
the roads were headlit, in eyelight, then the fields hurt a dissonant yellow, electricity
commuting the rain unmatted the fur, a tooth bedded in tar, a crow hopped
eyes moulded into plastic, look again at that field, those leaf-struck trees
the light blank as a computer screen, the corpse by a rush of trembling
the rain lay in ruins, a familiar crackle, a bluesinger’s depth
no field could contain: an uprooted horse, fibrous head, the phone crumbled in
the morning encased with loose threads the foxes and what the foxes ate
print riding over my face and a density of destiny coagulated on the radio
a wheel of seagulls came down on the field and the road misted up again.
Again my daughter at the doorway
in her moth-soft night-clothes
senses nightfall is the shape of a tear.
She is shivering with gold and crying.
Something she had seen perforated sleep.
The newspaper I brought home was soiled with it.
A television bleeds it, and cries.
She already knows the worst:
men drop bombs on cities
people do not stop toddling
childhood is a dream she’ll never wake from
my song comes out:
harsh little baby
don’t go to sleep
as the stars collect themselves around
these ancient motives
suddenly you understand the language
the children have been singing so long.
Her particulars dissolve,
parts of her become nameless.
As I speak them, each word disappears.
I say Nina: those foxcubs we saw
when you were strapped to my waist,
they are now old and dirty.
Similar to Rain
Thick with angles the sky
and the indefinite years,
what the seconds dictate.
The thin-flowing evening
questions what will fit inside it,
a man walks his narrative in the park.
People stand in groups mentioning
the uproarious trees
or some part of planet lifts its blade.
How many particularities to make
a seed capsule, its fur,
not to mention not to mention
the varied intonations of sea
the cranes candle-lit above their wastes,
the geese training to sound autumnal.
Expectant in echoes we move as midges
in unfettered frames of breath.
Before cities the sky was polluted
by stars, the sleep in mouths amounting
on the trampled watermeadow.
Release September. The bramble-black
mole heaves, the trees wear thin
against transcriptions of horizon.
Somewhere in my meat the poem
digests vision, you can list days so
let us inhabit now. In the past
I was looking forward to the years
that would be but those years
tangled themselves in the years that had to be,
leaves simmering on the road under
the eyes that hold the brain in place.
Giles Goodland last book of poems was Capital from Salt in 2006. A previous book was A Spy in the House of Years (Leviathan, 2001).