Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Poetry
14 June 2023

The NS Poem: maples

A new poem by Claudine Toutoungi.

By Claudine Toutoungi

we have them on all sides surrounded
we make eyes at yellows and reds
we crumble bits and inhale maple dust

one woman walks by with a dog in a pram
the dog husks Montand’s nostalgic 
classic Les Feuilles Mortes 

and three old men nod
they have been ceremoniously buried 
up to their chins in spiky little leaves 

but make no fuss
puffing on pipes they cannot remove
bald heads blessed with twigs and detritus

Claudine Toutoungi is the author of two collections of poetry, “Smoothie” and “Two Tongues” (Carcanet)

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday - from the New Statesman. The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Read more:

World Poetry Day: The best modern poems

Content from our partners
Why collaboration is the key to growth
How AI can help unleash employee potential
How Registers of Scotland modernised the world’s oldest land register

The NS Poem: From Brother Poem

The NS Poem: A Standstill

Topics in this article : ,

This article appears in the 14 Jun 2023 issue of the New Statesman, Over and Out