Issue 23 – Winter 2013 – Giles Goodland

Giles Goodland



Before the house, the path
ends on our feet. Hills crown.
The scarf of geese call suggesting
our sky has been crossed
by a limitless word, falling
towards, and, seeding in the trees,
most of all, is the horse’s mass,
its content chewing. Night stacks
inside it. Soon it will shift to
the counter-edge of the field, lift it
with its bone teeth and pull it in.
Look what our beautiful shadows
are made of, the rain over the house

the light moves a moment from its image
as night begins again its
unstatable war with colour.

A magpie softlands in front of us.
This is the wood where broken dogs
limp from leashed owners, pulling
to the dredged pool, the trees
in their autumn misery.

A bent-over old woman walks
painfully round a corner.
As we watch her, she stops for
a moment, stoops to pick
a child’s mitten from the ground
and places it on a low tree
stump and moves on.

On the other side of this forest
an army is sharpening words.
The columns of newspapers
and the airways buzz with their
offensives. Little is left
that has not been dreamt open
but the resisting line can slow
the eye’s advance, dream shut the pronoun.
The security fence is taut and sings to the touch.

A single blackbird attempts to broadcast
its untransliteratable song
power corrupts language but language corrodes power
power co-opts language but language disarms power
power appropriates language but language invalidates power
power uses language but language disuses power
power demands language but language remands power
power needs language but language does not need power.

Streetlights come on, snowflakes
dance like summer midges.
The house spills light, the horse shadow.
The air is hungry, barks
a chained dog. Mopeds tut
to each other. Further, a police car
wows. And further, something larger
changes gear: bus, planet, word.


Weather normal for the time of life
for the song, the moon is
subset, the plants trembling
their perimeristems,
tractors bumblingly
approaching: away with your sub
rosa leafs and misshaped eggs,
the layers of ancient
self in the risen lamb’s tatty
bye upends cloud,

further among tribes of cling and drift
the sands shift as heavy smoke across
the stones of my ancestors: they lean
and do not fall. The derived river
is in pieces, I have many projects, one song.

Light falls in flakes: enough to
paint the country its own colour.
The branches do not interrupt, a river
foretells our rusted spears will spoke
into interiors those who burn fingers
are dressed as for the next silence
the dark cloud is self aloud.

The antitheft windows are open but as the
passengers testify from the night-bus
there are burns and flowstones and epics
of inanition, even to the sunrising hills
where songs flourish like snakes

and desires entail as clouds descend upon
the dreamer and the rained.
We believe in fortresses out of fact
snatch sleep behind the eye
as we spoke the river from the mouth
rain stiffens in the hand
the bombers part from their loved ones
half part rain, the weather insists
the imaginary reconciliations
between words, dissolves in the eye’s
sky, pulls rope tricks and sucks houses.
The lakes are guttering
and imperious birds alight the trees
as cancer takes hold in the villages.

It is nearly 6 pm. On the train, women
are tying their hair back so tightly it must hurt.
Explain me, your heart wrenched from its pip
acres ago you leapt from sense
against the remembered ruins.
My advice: be the cloud.

Wait for the lines
or the trains to pull away
the rivers dissipate and the trees
walk spaciously,
a voice inside the voice says
waste of worth is worth remembering.
We aim upwards, are tall enough
to receive the weather, yet touch the ground.

Media Storm

The city that has banished night
contains it. As the planes
fall into vision they splinter,
on the carousel is arousal, is
the sense like the sun of
an explosion that is continuous;
consciousness on the news
is for the dust-industry.
Things have intolerance for
shape, shed answers; skin-traces
in the open-plan are swept, cubed.
The sky lets down a new ray that
startles because its colour is unnamed.
The words make their senses
and night runs along on song.

The skeleton at the plough sows an army
of likes, there is no escape from
this photocopier, spilling blanks,
each of which has the value of a day.

What we feel is the size of skin,
it gloves the world we use.
So sing the sunsung songs
the violin does the work of 1,000 men
and the tongue buries the sight.
Economic the imperative
that sloped an elegy inside
a hand of cloud, a head of rain.



Giles Goodland is the author of, most recently, The Dumb Messengers (Salt, 2012).