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.
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
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
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.
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