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3 poems by Rowland Bagnall

A Lull in the Birds

To the left, let’s say

a country lane

The hour

begins to eat itself

No redemption

can happen to you

just like October can

happen to you

A pavement

in the end

can blossom


Language eclipses itself

an eye leaving its socket

Today was

like today was

in the surface of a helmet’s dome

We miss

another different window

What, if anything, is

with you?


This accidental dance


The time

fizzes with


A picture of the Earth

morphs into

all times in the


The speaker

in the wake of things





‘Tomorrow’ and ‘today’ collide

The missteps

trips us up

For a moment


ongoing changes

Meaning has

a kind of



Continue together

Elisions and

a three-way street

No flowers

can happen to you

just like eye contact can

happen to you

If we have to disappear

we can

An Atlas

It’s summer

around us, a

picture we’re

living in, as

though living

were a substance

that could ease

out like a taken

breath – the same

breath you are

taking now,

drifting your

slow way

through lakes

of experience,

crushing up

at last against


which is

like today.

Time happens

here in hills

and slopes,

increments of

everything de

-caying in soft

sequences –

replaced at

once invisibly

by sequences

ahead – though

everything that’s

seen from here

absorbs you

like a leaf

the sun.

Eventually it’s

just a case of

how long you

go on for,

two hands

writing side

by side down

two halves of

an empty

page, one


what it sees,

the other what

it thinks about,

reacting in re

-sponse to sight

like blossom

flipping from

the trees.

And so, the scene

abandons you,

the new


now describing

itself, its colours

and connectedness,

the sun proposing

no alternative

to the way

that things are

playing out,

faster and faster,

believe it

or not, summer,

winter, winter,


Under the Equalizing Night

A mountain stream descending to the sea.

The radiation of the snows.

Thousands of insects smashing the windscreen.

Thousands of insects not smashing the windscreen.

An uncontainable, retreating view.

A water-damaged athlete under many-angled, greenish lights.

The somewhat imaginary noises of the sea.

A woman with a horse’s skull or with a rock shaped like a horse’s skull.

A room of silent de Chiricos, eyeing themselves in the empty gallery.

A quarter moon cresting the Alps.

Infrared cameras monitoring temperature.

Apollinaire’s lines: I am everywhere or rather I am beginning to be everywhere.

Hart Crane’s last bear, shot drinking in the Dakotas.

A single horse standing in a field doing nothing.

The ongoing approach of spring.

The ongoing approach of spring.

Us travelling at close to three-hundred kilometers per hour.

Us eyeing the dawn as it absorbs into itself the night.


Rowland Bagnall is a writer and poet from Oxford, UK. His debut collection A Few Interiors was published by Carcanet Press in 2019. Recent poems and reviews have appeared in the

Brooklyn Review, PN Review, PROTOTYPE, and the Los Angeles Review of Books:


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