Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

John Burnside

Ronan

Ronan

Ronan

To prove that nothing
really disappears

and nothing comes of nothing,
days like these

we go down to the beach
and dig for hours

hauling up glass and creel bones
from the sand,

veins of razor shell
and drifted oil,

buttons and fishnets,
bottles, scraps of sail;

and think how our language
harbours the tongues of our elders,

Norse and Gaelic
buried in the map,

fragments of Sanskrit
shining through the hymnals.

More than we pretend
of what we do

is restoration:
dreaming into life

a world that’s neither
past nor primitive,

but fresh as the cream of the well,
of some upland source

concealed under plywood boards
and nettles

                      – wine-dark,
aboriginal.
Close

Ronan

To prove that nothing
really disappears

and nothing comes of nothing,
days like these

we go down to the beach
and dig for hours

hauling up glass and creel bones
from the sand,

veins of razor shell
and drifted oil,

buttons and fishnets,
bottles, scraps of sail;

and think how our language
harbours the tongues of our elders,

Norse and Gaelic
buried in the map,

fragments of Sanskrit
shining through the hymnals.

More than we pretend
of what we do

is restoration:
dreaming into life

a world that’s neither
past nor primitive,

but fresh as the cream of the well,
of some upland source

concealed under plywood boards
and nettles

                      – wine-dark,
aboriginal.

Ronan

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère