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  1. Culture
13 March 2018

Hineni

The NS Poem: Hineni.

By Craig Raine

Here in this hospital bed,
I forage for firewood,

stooped, like one of the elders,
among the boulders,

dusty big toes calloused
where my sandals work loose.

I am here to sacrifice
a childhood. It is the price,

the pyre that death commands.
So with these tremulous hands,

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I arrange my memory hoard:
toy soldiers on skateboards,

jigsaw pieces
like tortoises,

flat new-born terrapins,
like a slew of leaves the wind blew in,

a grey prep-school dressing gown,
too big, a hand-me-down,

braided, like the fugue of a plait,
a Gunn and Moore cricket bat

like a banana, carved,
an elegant curve

of yellow
willow,

dried blood
from a nose bleed,

Cadbury’s buttons, dark on the floor,
my pet rabbit’s demure ears,

soothed and smoothed until
they’re soft as a leather finger stall.

No sign now of the ram I sought,
its uncoiled mainspring caught

in a bush of thorns,
rear hoof lifted to free its horns.

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This article appears in the 07 Mar 2018 issue of the New Statesman, The new cold war

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
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