Night Altitude


drawing by Sarah Longlands



Index of titles and beginnings



Night Altitude Unlocal space, / —uncentred, / bound by no more limit / than the pleasure of the skin

Oceanic Night Open, oceanic night; daytime entities know / no shore, no edge, no silent boundary.

Undebatable, the roads of right Undebatable, the roads of right / before the child’s eyes; / orders of a world so slight / and so short-lived and yet / entire, encompassed by an effortless belief.

‘Around, the days go light of sense’ Inward sight redeems the past / of living memory, makes grief / more bearable. And yet belief / hangs winter-bare, in distance cast.

‘Day on day a different angle of the sun’ Day on day a different angle of the sun / bleaches soft the boards. And the hard-edged / shadow in its scythe-like passing rests upon / the indeterminate.

One in a multitude One day, lost, indistinguishable now / amongst the host and multitudes of days

The Interior of the Temple; winter afternoon Forewarning of what—that not known / at first— now past; he stares up to the void, / a half-built attitude of mind destroyed / as though within one breath a world had flown.

The plain of day Truthful day. / Partial thought; / shadow of / untruthfulness / sun-spilt / across the plain / of day.

Below the radar Mid afternoon. Vision through the casement / to the centre, where the blocks / make buildings of the earlier time / seem starved and small.

Unending weight makes dead the heart Unending weight makes dead the heart / where living in the moveless pause / is done. The epicycle’s end: / perspective on a world apart / from origins, beneath the laws / that have no mind, do not defend

‘Wakening at night in an unfamiliar place’ Wakening at night in an unfamiliar place, the window on the road whose name / he can’t recall, the moonlight on his face; / but what will come is not the same / as what has gone.

Day without skylines Rain falls / on the tin shed roof / regular columns of drops / at the open door, / numberless inversions of one changing world.

In the patterning of sound He looks out beyond / the frame. Rain / is hollow on the roof. // In the patterning of sound / is the day’s encoded name.

Brief day, short leaving Brief day, short leaving, / weaving of a year's end / in leaflessness and cold. / Frosts' fold, white, starred.

The undividing aether Two lives, separated in the undividing aether, / the anciently new within the arms; the light / the unspent daylight, here, in uncentred time

On the common Grey morning hour, rise of land, / garment of the sensate day; / mortal memory, unhedging sight

‘Fades on the heath the light’ Fades on the heath the light / in frost; paths go to night. / Wears, the sentience of day; / every plural way // grows singular: ends, / where day depends.

How many days began as this? How many days began as this? / As indigo behind the eye? Upon / the coolness of the face the skyline / breadth of light and colour’s origin?

Late autumn, early evening Lacking comment on the age, the angle of the light acute / and straight upon the furrow, bringing upward to the edge / of time the spent and hidden pasts.

The plaintful wind A human half-shape moans / upon an age and hones / the blunted grievances, // elects a stranger’s forms

Lens of language Lens of language, that open book, days’ light / head on and charactered: the mind is spare / before the age

Metamorphosis of passion Passion rising from the deeps, / flowering of time-dependent form / where the field of person sleeps.

Sometimes the mind awakens where the habitus of meaning sleeps Sometimes the mind awakens / where the habitus of meaning sleeps. / Everything is accessible, proportioned out / as though in the mind’s eye; particles of light / bear equal weight

Journeyable roads Compliant to a word; / yielded to him a place, / made for him an age

‘One space holds many things’ One space holds many things; / none mutually excludes

In the public bar of the Mariner’s Arms, Bridgwater: storm outside Sheet-anchored in an age whose drift / began way back; (some abstraction / of it in the mind, caulking up the rift / between the sight of elements in action—day by day an ever-sliding sea infloods towards the foregone end— / and a dumb presentiment that we / are strangely moveless.

Imperium Sessile world / in an air-fanned ember, / thought stretched out on dust, / mechanism in the amber, / intricate.

October day; the playing field’s fence cannot be seen October day; the playing field’s / fence cannot be seen, but somewhere / there’s a game: the thin mist yields / the cries. The muffling air // is stretched out thinly by the sounds.

Person ~ simile of world All words ~ allegory on a quietus. / The road rises, the tractive axle turns, / salience supports a name. Motion ~ / metaphor’s unmovedness. Person ~ / simile of world.

The Great Wall Reason is the superstitious face upon the coin, / the exhaustive gravamen of earthly fates. / Names give up. Unknown conjoin: / run out in sand. Defence predominates.

The steady star in the well’s depth The steady star in the well’s depth / moves, the field swings, an eye / is drawn aside, a traverse made, / a depth of night drawn overhand

The flower All that is complexity / falls in dearth; / affluence in need.

'Change, gravity’s companion' Change: / gravity’s companion, / unseen sister-sun, / centre of the orbit of a life

The mountain-shades of memory The breath of air / that shakes the surface / takes lucidity; shakes / the shallow surface / of the skein of days;

Gravities Unweighted sun / in seas of time; / souls run / in simple rhyme.



Seven poems are presented here: click the underlined titles










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