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Will Eaves: two poems

Photograph by John Cairns


After the wind stops,

we are sloshed

to and fro in the silence

like drowned ducklings

or a photograph developing

in its tray.

Harder and harder to avoid,

these images of aftermath

and no reply:

a still garden

where the blossom

neither fails nor fruits,

the seedlings never push up

from the root,

the bee never docks

in the colour-blind flower.


The Path

On the far side of the high bridge

stands a clump of willows

losing leaves

in the blank November lamplight.

The morning is all angles and degrees

like the coots practising lift-off

in their quarter of the pond

or the willows stopped

by nothing in the act of falling.

Two dark moons of mistletoe

in the treetops

lend themselves to the air of observation

and habit below:

half-inflated swans seeing off dogs,

a pair of crows discussing their arthritis,

people carried round the park

on a thin grey carousel.

Last leaves stencil the white horizon

with waders' feet

and the bridge is behind me.

Will Eaves is a novelist, poet and musician. He has been Arts Editor of the TLS (1997–2011) and Associate Professor in the English department at the University of Warwick. In 2020, his novel Murmur won the Wellcome Book Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Fiction. The two poems above are from Exposed Staircase, published by Rack Press in 2022.

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