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7 December 2022

The NS Poem: A brief note on the interregnum

A new poem by John Burnside.

By John Burnside

There were so many fathers then,
boot-prints running out into the snow
and never coming back, the hum
of elsewhere, every time we stopped
to listen. Someone would say
the city on a hill,
then days would pass in total
silence, unknown bodies
waiting in the dark, that bated
hush along the treeline, where the names
were failing, so it felt like hinterland,
provisional, and never quite
as final as we hoped it might have been,
the way it was in stories: ruin, blossom.

John Burnside is a Scottish author and poet. His most recent poetry collections are “Apostasy” (Dare-Gale) and “Learning to Sleep” (Jonathan Cape)

Read more poetry published in the New Statesman here

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This article appears in the 07 Dec 2022 issue of the New Statesman, Christmas Special