Anton Floyd – Consider How At Some Random Hour

Anton Floyd LE P&W March 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing March 2023

Consider How At Some Random Hour, poem by Anton Floyd.

Consider How At Some Random Hour

after Rainer Maria Rilke


Consider how to encode a single poem.
Think of the facets of peopled cities –
roads, alleyways, avenues and streets,
the nuanced lives behind window blanks,
the footfall echoes the lonely make,
the interrupted cries at night
rebounding over the houses
and past impartial clocks.
They ripple unheard among the stars.
Observe the sounds and the silences
in the flights of birds, in the minutiae
when nature performs all her dramas –
the dangers and the promises of things –
then bows to the sun and the moon.


Return again in your mind
to those unchartered streets
where memory like a fading silver print
would name the populating ghosts
of so many chance encounters –
the ones that couldn’t last and didn’t;
to that ever-present childhood
so full of inexplicable mysteries.
Think back to your parents
to those serial hurts etched
over time into their well meaning faces –
how the gifts and joys they imagined
were discarded like neglected toys –
all those mismatched, eager expectations.


Remember how in childhood
when griefs came out of some
blue nowhere and heralded strange
and difficult transformations –
when change, like the seas’ moving waters
sometimes calm like when a dawn meditation
fills the restraint of a quiet room,
or is sometimes wild and unpredictable
yet always so vital it resists definition.
You might consider it enough to draw
the protean talent of memory –
all the dangers and promises of things –
into a poem’s constellating thought
but it is not and cannot be enough.


And after all that consider
in the sounds and in the silences
all the prompts and the impromptu choices,
all those chances, all those revisions.
Think back to those moments
(none ever the same)
in the night-soaked-dark
when lovelight colours flared
like stars in love’s dilated eyes.
Recall the quickening pangs
and magnified cries of labour
and how new mothers closed
their wide eyes to rest after
the outrageous miracles of birth.


Add to these the time spent beside the dying
how that last onset became a ritual
of the self absenting itself from things:
from familiar neighbourhood noises;
from someone calling;
from the rapid fire of a motor bike
throbbing into the distance;
from the lemon tree outside the window
its branches, its shiny green leaves,
its cluster of yellow suns and under them
the chickens scratching in the dust;
when with everything assigned,
everything was surrendered
to another cold, ineluctable ending.


Yet even with this hoard of memory
it is not enough, for time will have a say
in these things, will decide willy-nilly
what matters and what may not.
For the time being, memories
like fleeting sensations will haunt
your blood, will surface unidentified
in your thoughts, in a look, a gesture
as something natural and uniquely you,
until out of the blue-black silence
at some random hour it happens –
the first word of a poem arrives.
It draws a pioneering line around the stars.
It begets and names a new constellation.

© Anton Floyd

Anton Floyd was born in Egypt, a Levantine mix of Irish, Maltese, English and French Lebanese. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin and University College, Cork. He has worked in education in the eastern Mediterranean and in Cork City. He now lives in West Cork where he gardens organically. Poems widely published in Ireland and internationally. A member of Irish Haiku Society, he is several times winner of International Haiku Competitions.

A selection of haiku is included in Between the Leaves, an anthology of new haiku writing from Ireland edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky (Arlen House, 2016). His first poetry collection, Falling into Place (2018) was published by Revival Press. He edited Remembrance Suite (Glór, 2018), a chapbook of sonnets by Shirin Sabri and an international anthology of poems, Point by Point ( Glór, 2018). He received the 2019 Literary Prize awarded by the Dazzling Spark Arts Foundation (Scotland)). A new collection, Depositions (Doire Press) was published in 2022. A new collection, On the Edge of Invisibility is forthcoming. A collection of haiku Singed to Blue is in preparation.

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