Dominic Leonard’s writing can be found in PN Review, Poetry London, the TLS, Pain and elsewhere, with two of his poems featuring in the spring edition of The Poetry Review. In 2019, he received an Eric Gregory Award. His pamphlet, Antimasque, will be published by Broken Sleep Books in 2021. He lives and teaches in London.
Seven Birds Passed
Through a Great Building
Seven birds passed through
A great building—I cannot
Remember you always but
I have been finding ways to
Remember you enough. I have
Loved only from a safe distance,
Staring into sinks long enough
To know the sense of spillage
That comes with every act of
Honesty. Seven birds passed
Through a house of spectacle
Through the light that lounged
Around each of the great stupid
Bells and I thought about how
Profound it felt, hands thick
And heavy on my stupid knees.
When I say that once I dreamt
You were a taxi on fire plunging
Down every country road in
England I am not being facetious
I am testing my immensity.
I am trying to manage my fear,
Which is to say I cannot risk
Heaven, or any attempt at heaven I
Have made so far, not when each
Line I find is a room gone dark just
As I leave it and always the birds are
Flown and I’ve missed it just, just.
What is the wind, what is it
After Gertrude Stein
An egg – lithe beast that could crack with any pressure,
That gets yellower towards its centre, that hangs between
The fingers. A ghost-vision, serenely bovine. Incubated,
Stratified. A correct language of where it was, where it
Went, how are we anchored by it. But, to wander with it –
How the wind knocks my ham-fisted breath from me,
Makes a pelt of it. And wedged is the wind, trickling
Into and out of all my little compartments and rooms,
A fawn in a field seen blurred through the rain at nearly
Seven in the evening after stumbling from the house.
Something to consider when deciding on materials to
Rebuild the world from after testing its capacity for grief,
Which is all this was.
Seven Birds Passed Through a Great Building / On forgetting
the anniversary of a death: exclusive first publication by iamb
What is the wind, what is it: Stand (Issue 223, Volume 17 No. 3)