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Best Famous John Burnside Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous John Burnside poems. This is a select list of the best famous John Burnside poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous John Burnside poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of John Burnside poems.

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by John Burnside |

Landscapes

 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.


by John Burnside |

Septuagesima

 I dream of the silence
the day before Adam came
to name the animals,

The gold skins newly dropped
from God's bright fingers, still 
implicit with the light.
A day like this, perhaps: a winter whiteness haunting the creation, as we are sometimes haunted by the space we fill, or by the forms we might have known before the names, beyond the gloss of things.


by John Burnside |

Agoraphobia

 My whole world is all you refuse:
a black light, angelic and cold
on the path to the orchard,
fox-runs and clouded lanes and the glitter of webbing,
little owls snagged in the fruit nets
out by the wire
and the sense of another life, that persists
when I go out into the yard
and the cattle stand round me, obstinate and dumb.
All afternoon, I've worked at the edge of your vision, mending fences, marking out our bounds.
Now it is dusk, I turn back to the house and catch you, like the pale Eurydice of children's classics, venturing a glance at nothing, at this washed infinity of birchwoods and sky and the wet streets leading away to all you forget: the otherworld, lucid and cold with floodlights and passing trains and the noise of traffic and nothing like the map you sometimes study for its empty bridlepaths, its hill-tracks and lanes and roads winding down to a coast of narrow harbors, lit against the sea.


by John Burnside |

Landscapes

 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.


by John Burnside |

Snake

 As cats bring their smiling
mouse-kills and hypnotised birds, 
slinking home under the light 
of a summer's morning
to offer the gift of a corpse,

you carry home the snake you thought 
was sunning itself on a rock
at the river's edge: 
sun-fretted, gracile,
it shimmies and sways in your hands 
like a muscle of light,
and you gather it up like a braid 
for my admiration.
I can't shake the old wife's tale that snakes never die, they hang in a seamless dream of frogskin and water, preserving a ribbon of heat in a bone or a vein, a cold-blooded creature's promise of resurrection, and I'm amazed to see you shuffle off the woman I've know for years, tracing the lithe, hard body, the hinge of the jaw, the tension where sex might be, that I always assume is neuter, when I walk our muffled house at nightfall, throwing switches, locking doors.


by John Burnside |

Snake

 I saw a young snake glide
Out of the mottled shade
And hang, limp on a stone:
A thin mouth, and a tongue
Stayed, in the still air.
It turned; it drew away; Its shadow bent in half; It quickened and was gone I felt my slow blood warm.
I longed to be that thing.
The pure, sensuous form.
And I may be, some time.