HCE received a lot of high-quality submissions for The Brutal Issue – sadly, too many to fit inside the magazine! So we offered some of our shortlisted contributors the chance to be published on our website.

Keep an eye on our social media for more great writing like this, in the run up to the release of The Brutal Issue…

The Animals

Giles Goodland


The animals move through language unawares.
While we struggle to push the slightest
adjective, they give birth in us to the sense
of us. In the park as evening flares
the bigger children use the chance of shadow
to take revenge on those smaller and weaker,
while parents cluster round a barbecue and
bikes lean under the trees. The light
sickens, there are unsubstantiated cries.
No game has been organized, there is still
plenty to drink, the parents talk of schools
until the girls come weeping. How did it
get to be so the geese pull the dark
over the sky when we are pared to
shadow but have voices we use to gather
the little ones in order to leave for home
with the abstract smell of the end of evening,
passing the playground in failing light
as if great numbers of young might still
spend the night, and putting them
to bed we hear faint cries, seeds of cries
in the park, whether of pain or excitement
we could never find with eyes that cannot
yet see through trees. We move,
it seems, only by not attending to
the medium that we are passing through.

GILES GOODLAND was born in Taunton, was educated at the universities of Wales and California, took a D. Phil at Oxford, has published a several books of poetry including A Spy in the House of Years (Leviathan, 2001) Capital (Salt, 2006) and Dumb Messengers (Salt, 2012). He works in Oxford as a lexicographer and lives in West London. His next book The Masses will be out from Shearsman in October 2017.