Anton Floyd – Unseeable Distances

Floyd profile Dec 2020

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume Two, December 2020.

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 the eastern Mediterranean and now lives in West Cork. 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 was published by Revival Press in 2018. He edited Remembrance Suite, a chapbook of sonnets by Shirin Sabri (Glóir, 2018) and an international anthology of poems, Point by Point (Glóir, 2018). He received the 2019 Literary Prize awarded by the Dazzling Spark Arts Foundation (University of Macau, China). A new collection, Depositions is forthcoming from Revival Press in 2021.

1. Leaf by Leaf

for Richard W Halperin

And I feel how leaf by leaf
deepening shadows flood
the trees; and sunset’s secret
is a slow and steady coming on.
I cannot guess at the weight
of shadows; those private griefs
we all shore up, minute by minute,
that taste of wormwood on the tongue.
While words like splints of thought
might stem this gathering mood
they cannot, hour by hour, prevent
what this slow dusk draws down:
It mutes birdsong. Petals fold shut.
Wounds close. And at the finish, what?

2Blue Day

Only pain and love are real you said
that blue day with the smell of olive trees
beyond blue water and rims of sand.
The cries of seabirds were turning blue,
the blue of the peacock feather I imagine
the toque-hatted lady of your childhood
wore at a jaunty angle. I see the feather
poised in the air like that leap into the void.
The gelatin image of it, in my mind’s eye,
is tinted the same blue as the lines
of your poem – words connecting
unseeable distances. I sail them now,
enter into the still centre of that day learning
of love’s genius by the exquisite pain of loss.

Warrior Queen – after Adrienne Rich

for Moze Jacobs

I imagine the cairn of her resistance.
Because she loves the land she places
each stone for large or simple reasons.
This is her work of hands, the weight
of the sun bearing down on her back.
The prototype exists on Knocknarea;
a sign to protect a queen’s lands.
And real as stones are, limestones
worn smooth by wind and rain
will, one day, all be gone. Her poems,
her mythic syllables, painfully
assembled, will outlast a pile of stones
and more than stones will guard
us all from fears that flood the mind.

Our Sapling Oak 

i.m. Adrienne Rich

In your name I plant this oak.
You loved the land and could
see the country bought and sold,
a final stand of trees laid waste,
the persecuted becoming shadows.
This tree marks your resistance.
I should say ours, to honour
the common weal, to bring it back
into light from the edge of dread
where it has retreated. This sapling,
these bare stems, pared down,
vulnerable, vital, simple as breath
rooted in silence, history will record:
an unremarkable oak made a forest.

© Anton Floyd