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Landscapes

Written by: John Burnside | Biography
 Behind faces and gestures 
We remain mute 
And spoken words heavy 
With what we ignore or keep silent 
Betray us 

I dare not speak for mankind 
I know so little of myself 

But the Landscape 

I see as a reflection 
Is also a lie stealing into 
My words I speak without remorse 
Of this image of myself 
And mankind my unequaled torment 

I speak of Desert without repose 
Carved by relentless winds 
Torn up from its bowels 

Blinded by sands 
Unsheltered solitary 
Yellow as death 
Wrinkled like parchment 
Face turned to the sun. 

I speak 
Of men's passing 
So rare in this arid land 
That it is cherished like a refrain 
Until the return 
Of the jealous wind 

And of the bird, so rare, 
Whose fleeting shadow 
Soothes the wounds made by the sun 

And of the tree and the water 
Named Oasis 
For a woman's love 

I speak of the voracious Sea 
Reclaiming shells from beaches 
Waves from children 

The faceless Sea 
Its hundreds of drowned faces 
Wrapped in seaweed 
Slippery and green 
Like creatures of the deep 

The reckless Sea, unfinished story, 
Removed from anquish 
Full of death tales 

I speak of open valleys 
Fertile at men's feet 
Overgrown with flowers 

Of captive summits 

Of mountains, of clear skies 
Devoured by untamed evergreens 

And of trees that know 
The welcome of lakes 
Black earth 
Errant pathways 

Echoes of the faces 
Haunting our days.



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