“Landscapes”- a poem by John Burnside

“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”

Excerpt from“Landscapes” – A poem by John Burnside


The desert is a throwback to the gloom of the post-war much like the poetry of Eliot .The passing of men is so rare that it is cherished like a refrain-I love this image.The second one in the quote is equally beautiful-“of the bird,so rare/Whose fleeting shadow/Soothes the wounds made by the sun”.The bird’s fleeting shadow smooths the wounds made by the sun-a graphic image just like Eliot’s imagery in The Waste Land:

What are the roots that clutch
What branches grow in this stony rubbish?
Son of Man ,you cannot say or know
For you know only a heap of broken images
Where the sun beats or
the dead tree gives no shelter…”