He felt the weight of prairie vastness in the urban space,
the loneliness such sparseness of expanse can bring,
the seep of grassland into city wariness, the way
great distance can be squeezed into a downtown street.
He saw the spaces infiltrating neighbourhoods
like wedges prising could-be friends apart, or solid hedges,
impenetrable, keeping people in. For hedge, a block
of darkened pigment: loneliness, a figure gaoled in light.
His landscape was a tableau frozen from time's stream,
a known world, stranger than we'd known, where nothing moved.
There were no doors, no corridors, no exits from the bleakness
and no absconding from his silent dream. No recoil to reality.
Always, it seemed, an unknown ghost was waiting to appear.
extract from the poem Koi by John Burnside All afternoon we've wandered from the pool to alpine beds and roses ...
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