Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
14 August 2017updated 28 Mar 2019 10:53am

On its way to lace

A new poem by Craig Raine.

By Craig Raine

I am flying at night.
Pins and needles
waiting in my iPhone.
Then the sadness of landing gear
swallowing the lump in its throat.
Dim the cabin lights.
My phone is dying.

Venice in blackface,
raining and gleaming.
The lagoon tonight
like patent leather dancing pumps.

A seagull’s umbrella feet.
Its irritable beak.
Each litter bin
a sarcastic cornucopia.

Trees on Sant’Elena.
Trees at Treviso.
The beauty of this dying,
the leaf on its way to lace.

See, the sick greens’ pallor.
Look, the slow release of colours,
pale lemons, sauternes,
cod liver oil capsules,
rusts, ground coffee beans,
lucozades, irn bru,
bright Colman’s mustard,
drab Dijon mustard,
Dover sole, freckles, keratoses,
the blush of old cricket balls,
the rouges of gout, sunsets,
bloods, brash burglar alarms,
lavender bruises, Fonseca port.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

The leaves turn, they turn away also,
they turn from us, the leaves,
so that we shall know this once,
for once, the world we have
we have to lose.

Craig Raine’s latest book is “My Grandmother’s Glass Eye: a Look at Poetry” (Atlantic)

Topics in this article :

This article appears in the 09 Aug 2017 issue of the New Statesman, France’s new Napoleon