Project Description

The Locusts

Before the first air was raised, the measures
of firmament named, or the dark unlet,
the locusts were already stirupped for battle
with faces of dim-bodied unsettlers, galoshed
and helmeted, their superstruts bonerung
and their hair as the hair of women, their teeth
like teeth of lions: and on their heads
I placed crowns: who handspanned this world-arch
hewed crowds of them, foddered them on rot
eaten straws, unstringed their ramshorn
syllables, airboned these fingerwidth
timepests that crooked their lipped mouth
partings in stupored enigmancies; and visited
them upon the dwellers in the house of
being, that the rush of their wings be sound
of chariots. I bid them overrun the great halls,
uncover the temples, bring down the choirs
and strip the fields. I who you buried in
the name of the idea of God wrang
out heaven’s clout until beggary over-ran
the Commonwealths, arable was salt, crumbs
of dried flood spotted the meadows, a third
part of the sea became blood, heat sang
in wounds as my finger moved, amused
myself with such fireworks as people,
leveraged drouth from hope, then hope from
drouth, and in some particulars doing this
felt aliver, but still could not say ‘I live’. Thus
in come time I graze the timesoiled roads in
my shining cage, the light having been let.

Trapdoor Spider

When Orpheus fallalters his many-stringed lyre
the morning sky fills with loose threads, with
spacewalkers reentering the frostburnt
heathsides with lacyrinths of the seemistress
and nobodily desdescendings through godangled
tangletwine onto bleeds of grass. Sad clouts
on the washing-line, a voice is lost:
come in please. Build a bridgethread with spinneret,
enter by l’age d’or, starting-gate, coital toilets
eyefeel a farangular foldoverol
string a sensearchive by fishingline
or five-beard bard of wisdom
be ushered by bellman to discover
a dunderworld like an arch of creaction,
twelveyed retiarus on limb-stilts his hourglass-
throat sings each treenerve as the cancer said
to the archbishop my nailed arms would
embrace you were it not for wethorn,
so please open up the false-floor, pulsense
the tropewalkers, watch-dense cloglegs
predate the damselfly and the ideal reader.
I fished with nest supping on husk,
running us out from the lanes where Shelley
sat himself observing the eartomb from
which nature poured to sand, but in dream a
sudden wind blew cold through my clothes in
mazy netanglements the venture-backed
abracadaver was linecaught by counter
demons tripwiring tined foot-bristles in
messageloop who clingfilm me underleaf:
I fall for flesh’s anomaly. Love’s ember guide
in such folds embeds the dead.


Ich, ich, tissue of flies, speak. Lay claim
to the pay clay, newsfeed from selfabsorbing
silkeye your broodcast of morphous
polyversity. We struggle hardly. We
hardly struggle. Feed us on hides so we
fit inside the rain lotting the increments
to their places. Gothrough the meat that
contains us, we work to stop it rotting,
dislimbing the subsleep withinside
ensigngines since we pineyed the runsize.
The clock, storehouse of empty-headed crowns,
has designs, extrudes plans. Our mother
sun rises against us when the food picks
from the table it spells a city in which
screens aflight the cherubbed farfather the
unuttered pulpulation of puposes.
Strong light spreads confusion the
russetting applerapture sugarsurges
under us to unhinge a rusting foodfoot
is a world bred of the nature of slime
& in maner as a snail tides on the paving
godfills the privy flypit the soulmotional
screameat surgests the mechasm
there is a mist in the heart of a country
we cannot appear to name. Our soft
infridged tripe is pure-rayed misuscle
the hemergent ununiverse as
pearversion of the underserved.
We keep the floor clean with our mouths
silvering sidelongly past the body
the song is lost to metre here rainbowpeel
heads roll an apple ripens in the heap
the ghost operates where the sentence transmits.

Giles Goodland

Giles Goodland was born in Taunton, UK, 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) and Dumb Messengers (Salt, 2012). He works in Oxford as a lexicographer and lives in West London. His next book The Masses will be out from Shearsman in October 2017.