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Barrens by Nathan Pirie


Barrens, emptiness—

the absence of things.

Pictures in books,

names with no bearing

and scarcity misunderstood.

Withering, wrought

with the insatiable

need to grow.

Plagued with

the allusion of plenty:

aisles of abundance,

each learning

what they truly


Nathan Pirie

Nathan Pirie is a writer and storyteller based in Southern Ontario, Canada. He is a co-founder of the bilingual, serial publication Artis Natura and the founder of Highwind Press, an emerging publishing company. His writing tends to focus on the conservation of nature and the interconnectivity of life on Earth, but he has retained his childhood passion for epic fantasy and otherworldly stories.

Twitter: @PlumesFromPirie

About This Poem

Barrens was first drafted as a scribbled note while waiting in the parking lot of a grocery store shortly after the lockdown began. Seeing abundant store shelves picked clean and the panic of those initial few weeks, I was reflecting on the things we need versus the things we have grown accustomed to seeing and how important of a distinction that has become.


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