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12 October 2022

The NS Poem: Variations on “Auld Lang Syne”

A new poem by John Burnside.

By John Burnside

From now on, you should treat me as a
hostile
witness, neither
pro nor con, nor

anywhere between; 

                                      heretical

in every house 
but one.

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A grown child in the close and holy
darkness, I will 
have no business here:

no gowans fine, no cup o’ kindness yet,
no good folk westering home
in summer fog.

My ghosts are laid
in veins of anthracite
and firedamp in the pages of no book,

oxlike and unremarked, beneath a town
that wears its hauntings 
well.

No wede awa for me. No neiges d’antan.
With every breath
I’m learning to forget.

John Burnside is a Scottish author and poet. His most recent poetry collection is “Learning to Sleep” (Jonathan Cape)

[See also: The NS Poem: Hymn to the Subjunctive]

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This article appears in the 12 Oct 2022 issue of the New Statesman, Will Putin go Nuclear?

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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  • Arts and Culture
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  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
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  • 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
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  • 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.
THANK YOU