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7 July 2021

The NS poem: Flowering currants

A new poem by John Burnside. 

By John Burnside

I would step through that scent on the way
to nowhere, adder’s tooth
and cullet in the grass, my body
suddenly akin
to April rain;

chancing my luck, at large in the summer heat,
I crossed into the shadows, where a boy
could sing himself to sleep and wake up
naked and abandoned, scarred with touch

and full of voices that were not his own,
his mouth a bruise, all memory a blur,
and everything he knew of House and Home
abandoned to the greenwood
like a snare.

John Burnside is a Scottish author and the New Statesman’s nature columnist. His latest collection of poems, “Learning to Sleep” (Jonathan Cape), will be published on 5 August.

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This article appears in the 07 Jul 2021 issue of the New Statesman, The baby bust