Three Poems by Imogen Cassels



I think very often of our moments that night

in the fellows’ garden, how time sped quickly

through our hands like rain, half-against.

On the lawn, under the dark was so much

running across the bottom of a lake, the easiness

of water, and I in my silver skirt a would-be fish,

a telling flashlight, a gift that gives away. I left

with light bruises on my legs, and a scratch

all the way from the back of my arm to

the shoulderblade. A lived-in relic, the comfort

of a body that feels itself and loves the ache

that proves potential for risk. As ever I think

of Eve clambering over the sidegate out of Eden,

her delicate skirt of leaves.





A storm; three trees fell down last night and come

the morning, I found one had crashed straight through

my window. Pine needles and glass. And you

were in my dreams again, a man become


a sort of weather-warning. I awoke

to find the bedclothes stained with sap

and me all doused in crystal, body mapped

with tiny beacons. Outside there is smoke,


the autumn gusts that seem November rain

until you seek beyond the door and find

just cold. This is a metaphor of sorts:

the false alarms, the brief moments that talk

of light but only default to unkindness.

Tonight another tree falls down again.





after Anthony McCall’s Meeting You Halfway II




Standing in the light with you is

something. At first we were

too scared to interpose our bodies

between the source and image,

but after breathing in the room,

and twanging at the minor beams

with curious hands, we took

the light onto our shoulders, backs

and faces. Disturbing the dust

that hung stilly in the air made it

a tiny sea around our waists.

If you stare into the light directly

it is like a tunnel. The heat of the beam

is like a tongue, or real sunlight.

It is December in a darkened room.





Two days after your leaving

I imagine really meeting you

halfway, somewhere in the Atlantic.

We do not fear the sea-trenches,

but sit on the bed collecting

shells and other items, pointing out

their brightnesses. This is only

another sea I want to throw myself

into. At New Year, maybe,

the whole thing will just freeze over,

and we will be the first to find

each other on the ice.





Since our time in the installation,

where our bodies met the beam halfway,

everything becomes a sort of wave.

I translate whole days to light

and interruption: the sudden glow

of messages, the forms of winter strangers

crossing roads, changing the composition

of the street. Chiaroscuro, a word

like the flight of birds. And, finally,

our imagined bodies meeting, how we will

interrupt each other’s light. Living

is a constant meeting-you-halfway,

a gradual haring down the tunnel

towards another kind of light.





It is half-midnight. Father does not see

the light that shows his daughter

slipping out the door like an old song.

She goes for the man last seen in something

like a darkroom, or camera obscura.

A moving with the seasons, west. Leaving

at night recalls the place she loved him

most in, the gloom that best curates the finer

points of light. This photograph. Now

I’m on my way. I’ll see you in the light.

I’m meeting you halfway.



Imogen Cassels is from Sheffield, and is currently reading English at Cambridge. In 2015 she was a Young Poet on the Underground, and in 2016 was a winner of the Poetry Business New Poets Prize. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Blackbox Manifold, The London Magazine, Ambit and The North.



Image credit: shuets udono

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