Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 17 September 2021

  • two perspectives on a landscape


    i

    Now you find yourself in the country,
    in the same country where you were born.

    Tooth-first, you, a knobbled branch, your hand.
    You want reasons for the engine. There are none.

    But how it rusts, thinking, listless in the grass,
    while you have a mouth of blood and wind.

    Spit out the trees, each one you’ve planted,
    with nobody else around. Now they stand

    on hillsides that always meant a window,
    though it slanted slightly in its frame.

    Though now you wonder of the window’s
    high, neglected corners, you cannot run to –

    now you realise you have found yourself
    in a landscape you no longer understand.


    ii

    There are new things you can understand
                 in the old way. 

    There are old things you can understand
                 in a new way.

    You sometimes think of you as the où
                 without location,

    carrying yourself, your own bouquet, to bed-
    rooms and searching
                 for a place to put it down.

    You sometimes think about the old,
    frittering away, unread
                 books lining their shelves:

    an apartment, a bedroom like your own
                 palm, fingering the curtains.

    You sometimes think about the old ways,
                 the old things –

    in the garage
                 of what you think,
                 the new things are all
                 hopeless.

      

    by Joshua Calladine-Jones


    Our annual competition is closing soon! The Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition, judged by Will Harris, closes for entries this Monday (20 September) at 23.00 BST/22.00 GMT. There are two categories: Open and English as an Additional Language. This year, thanks to the generosity of poet Isy Mead, we also have a limited number of free entries available for BAME poets who have been state-educated in the UK. You can find out more about the competition on our website. 

    ‘two perspectives on a landscape’ is copyright © Joshua Calladine-Jones, 2021. It is reprinted from Constructions [Konstrukce] (tall-lighthouse, 2021) by permission of tall-lighthouse. You can read more about the pamphlet on the tall-lighthouse website.

    The poems in this sometimes surreal and experimental pamphlet were influenced by the conditions of the pandemic, with its renewed focus on video-conferencing and other forms of digital technology. Konstrukce is a Czech word, meaning construction and the poetry is assembled from fragments, sentences noted down during online conversations with speakers who use English as a second-hand language, replete with faults, slips, and narratives both intentional and accidental. There are distortions, too, in the sequences, where the poet uses a technique of retranslation to revise literary form, using his own poetic discipline to create a justly memorable pamphlet.

    You can find out more about the pamphlet and listen to Joshua read poems from it on the tall-lighthouse website, where you can also buy a copy.

    tall-lighthouse has a reputation for publishing exciting new poetry, being the first to publish Sarah Howe, Helen Mort, Liz Berry, Jay Bernard, Ailbhe Darcy, Rhian Edwards, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Emily Berry and many others. Learn more about the press on the tall-lighthouse website and follow tall-lighthouse on Facebook and Twitter.

    Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.