Tuesday, February 16, 2010



In the small hours, the smallest of rain
and that animal joy of being abroad in the dark
with something unseen.

He said he would come again
in altered form:
the palest trace of smoke, or touch-me-not,
a charm of finches dipping through the meadows,

and something was there, when the first light
bloomed on her hands;
something was there, like a shadow
unpicked from the shadows.

Hadn't it always seemed odd
that the dead held their peace,
some herd sense drawing them in
to water and silence?

In scripture, they are mostly dust and pollen,
the colours subdued, the markings nondescript,
a step away from nothing, measured out
in clicks and whistles, over the stickled world;

and surely it must have seemed odd
that they never returned,
but meshed with one another in the earth,
a history of bloodline and attention
unwinding from the known the next-beloved.

John Burnside

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