Us

Days weep us, fists makes tunnels in us, sky peels for us, we wait in line feeling in us the crater that love made, the doctors’ shadows surround us, the middle of dust is us, but history teaches us to eat. In us the empty clock is the word. The herds of us have no narrative. Sleep winds us, it’s troubling for us to face a working world from which dream is excluded. Let us resort to linguistic examples. Some of us have learned to wake up before the alarm to avoid the interruption to sleep’s conveyer-belt in which the monster chases us to tell us how harmless he is. When the world is not thinking of us it becomes a riddle. The spirits speak to us, requesting us to remain silent. Language fills us, but it is an awkward light to work by. It is sane to believe that what stars make out of their stream is us, so let us record atoms as they fall upon the mind in the order in which they fall, slowly, as feathers down over us, wavy and rain-infused, and settle. Among us the small jagged lies beautifully shine, user-experience distils the rust of us, destroying what lies between us and that knoll of tufted summer heads above us. We move together in the high fields and leave a track behind us; dusk controls us with stars as answers. The alphabet measures us in sleep. The light that supposes us onto a blank page excites a phoneme. Fish answer us without us knowing. Voices urge: The riddles! Give us the riddles! When they are not answered they say Let us off at the next chapter. The spider of us cannot say. Hills surround us, lips part us, language houses us, causes us, uses us, the opals in the mountains call us down. While inviting us to think about ways of rendering the passing of time, dreams nudge us into lilies, heavy roses, sea-gardens. For the purpose of this poem let us say there are battles turning against us, our methods limit us to investigating population rhythms. The basin and jug are transfigured when layered and rigid water stands between us. In us the stilled energy of stars and waves. Let us rope sounds among the feet of us as sleep forms us.


Giles Goodland was born in Taunton, was educated at the universities of Wales and California, took a D. Phil at Oxford, and has published a several books of poetry including A Spy in the House of Years (Leviathan, 2001) Capital (Salt, 2006), Dumb Messengers (Salt, 2012) and The Masses (Shearsman, 2018). He has worked as a lexicographer, editor, and bookseller, and teaches evening classes on poetry for Oxford University’s department of continuing education, and lives in West London.