Giles Goodland

Look Away

Under the infant nail is spurt of
future. The wheels in the eye turn;
a crack opens in him
like a tunnel in a hand. 

We’re certain he’ll cry when he sees
light, with one tooth he’ll
bite his way back to us.

He lands blows upon me and I enjoy
their fruitlike bruiseless fall.

For a moment or year a head or arm
is lost, but then he fits the grammar
we’ve been fixing on his skin.

What he sees he enacts, the cracked
clock in the sun and the light
describing the
smallest thing he ever touched.
Thoughts loosen from him
like dandelion seed.

I read that the Giant who made us
is dead and his sadnesses were
bones, mountains, but what, he asks, that night,
what were made from his eyelashes?

Birds surround us with suggestions
of depth and sing away their chances
under frosts of eye.
In their world is no turning,

worms of sound surge
under the tiles and endless
floorboards between families.


Giles Goodland was born in Taunton, was educated at the universities of Wales and California, took a D. Phil at Oxford, 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 works in Oxford as a lexicographer, teaches evening classes on poetry for Oxford University's department of continuing education and lives in West London.