Shiochie’s Hill, Dunkeld

John Burnside

I want to begin again,
climbing through beech roots and gulls
to the hill of the fairies,

to nest with the rooks, to sleep
amongst broken yews,
to crouch in the dark of the ice house, close to the stone;

I’ll come after dark and feel the wet
drift of their bodies,
they’ll share me with the foxes and the deer,

or borrow my human warmth
to weave a caul
for the child they have stolen

and though I could say they are only
imagined,
the shiver in me that puts them there is real,

a wish for something quick against a skin
that cools too soon,
and wears itself too lightly.