On Stone

Giles Goodland

 

You can step on the same stone twice. Lungs grind stone to powder, to air. Stones tumble
from my eyes when I look into stone. If stones think then we must be what stone is
thinking. We clamber on stone and make fires and when it cracks, that is laughter. Around
the planet, the stones are arranged in order of importance. Stones are being still. They
believe what we think and at night, they visit us. Break open the right stone and your eye
rolls out. When people enter stone, they cannot leave. All that was is laid down in stone.
When they say it is ‘written on stone’, they mean they cannot read it. A house feeling its
way through woods takes a long time, so it sleeps on the pulse of stone. We come out and
see the wind has run away from us: we undid the stones by pulling them. Write the poem
hard, the clock has a second language. Stones filch from the pile of the yet to be felt. A tall
library is a layer of stone that will depose us. It grinds to thought all we began with. A
morning wind troubles the curtain of you. The words’ beginnings are lost when the
sentence turns back to stone. The stones replace their eyes with us nightly so that they can
see. Each dream is an interpretation of what is matter to us, but shadow to them. Later I will
sit and read the paper and attempt to not see you. We repeat the excesses of childhood by
denying them. Stone is to sand as person is to person. Is the ground of mountain. Is air of
detachment. Is body of water.

 

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) and Capital (Salt, 2006). The Masses is forthcoming from Shearsman in 2017. He works in Oxford as a lexicographer and lives in West London.

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