Each wind in this country is named for
the distinct noise it makes in the trees.
Today through the People’s Park the Košava bursts
as I sit in the glass-walled café at the centre.
A man pushes a piled shopping-cart of crates
of soft drinks across the Narodna Bašta
and suddenly the wind upsets them all
in furious colour and fizz. The fountain tilts
everything that can wave waves
the air-drunk trees tip, the cyrillic
death-notices flap against the trunks.
To my eyes every thing has the appearance of
the thing that it is, and even this strong wind
fails to quite dislodge the image of tree that half-
buckles, its roots holding, as a few young
leaves stream away, such loss being the cost
of representation, accounted for
in the sense that the trees overproduce
leaves in anticipation of loss, and once the
crisis-point passes, they will stand
more lightly tree-like than before, but does
the streaking leaf remain a part of the tree
or is it only in me its image races
until I stalk it inside a poem:
the streaming never, the loose leaf,
metonym of eternity never
still enough to tell. And is that a bird
in the despite, against the rush, undistressedly
notating? It is unseen, unseeable
and the other leaves, the ones that remain,
turn their paler undersides, making the trees
appear to be rushing from the scene.
About us blow the names of things, I sit
feeling dislodged from the great tree of name
and falling, since there is nothing to do but fall.
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.