About the poet
John Burnside (b. 1955) is the author of fourteen collections of poetry and eleven works of...
Mother as Script and Ideal
Always, I am coming home
from hunting frogs or standing in the swim
of wind between the last dyke
and the sea;
and, always, she is there,
a light that makes this world believable.
My eyes turned from the snuff
of paraffin and darkness in that house
so long ago, I barely know it’s there:
washrooms wrapped in frost, a skewed moon
picking out the paths from then to now,
where someone, not myself,
goes missing, while I lie down in the warm
and wait for her to come, her hands
a labyrinth of mint and cinnamon, her book
the only book we have, the pages
thumbstained, now, with daisychain and lilac,
and such detail in the pictures, I could find
The Snow Queen, or the Lady of the Lake
so easily, it seems we must be kin.
from Still Life with Feeding Snake (Cape, 2017) © John Burnside 2017, used by permission of the author and the publisher.
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