John Burnside: a poem



June 27th, 2020


Mid-afternoon, mid-summer, when it

darkens all at once, the traffic


suddenly illumined, daubs

of soft, electric gold


diffusing

in the petrol-tinted rain,


till all the town becomes

a theatre, the play about to start


and what we had forgotten in ourselves

resumed, as if we'd never gone astray.



John Burnside's collections include The Hoop (1988); The Light Trap (2002); The Good Neighbour (2005); Gift Songs (2007); and Black Cat Bone (2011), which won both the Forward Prize for Poetry and the T.S. Eliot Prize. In 2008, Burnside received the Cholmondeley Award. His prose works include the collection of short stories Burning Elvis (2000), as well as several novels and memoirs. The Devil’s Footprints (2007) was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and A Summer of Drowning (2011) was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award. A former writer-in-residence at Dundee University, he currently teaches at the University of St. Andrews.