Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A woman Photographed – Fiona Kidman

A woman Photographed – Fiona Kidman
(Text from ‘Let us now praise famous women’/Andrea Fisher)

As she sleeps the arm head hair
of a woman fall
across the door
of her open-top
car. The image is highly sensuous;
we associate pleasure
with security:
with knowing a Self
however tenuous
or fleeting, and its relation
to the other.

Back and forth she carries us
across the fraught
and endless narratives who
is she, what is she doing?
is it
me, is it her? Her

absent body
is replaced
by the car. Horizontal strokes of light
and shadow

alternate over her arm and onto
the paralleling curves. Through
the extension of softly
lit surfaces it may be though
that face arm and car
become h
her one
continuous
skin.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Wicked - James Brown

The Wicked - James Brown

It starts at the edge of your teeth
like a small stone caramelised within a black jellybean,
and then it is grinding inside you like a cancer.
How can you write words you can’t even splutter,
that you can barely even think,
your mind an unspeakable furnace,
your tongue forever tripping over the neighbour’s cat?
You can’t find a fucking pen
in the whole fucking house that works
and, when you do, anger leads you nowhere.
But you follow, oh how you follow,
suddenly hearing the voice of that appalling poet
who once told you how he sent his books to schools
with a note saying they had ten days to return them
before his invoice would arrive. ‘It’s often easier,’
he’d confided, ‘for busy librarians to write out a cheque
than to re-package the book and return it.’
You’d wanted to pull his miserable beard out
there and then. You count calmly to ten
then go about resetting the rat poison without
a moment’s consideration for the neighbour’s cat.
You feel a wonderful power ‘surging’ through you.
Clich├ęs feed your strength because
you’ve got a one-way ticket to hell
and you don’t care. Fire rages, clouds scud.
On your bike you weave and spit
a throaty, viral gob over the windscreen
of an SUV that won’t give way.
There is no rest for the wicked in this world.
At night you bully the dishes
into some sort of submission
before reading the kids a super scary story
—though you are the one tormented by nightmares
of terrible things befalling them.
On the news, the pain and hatred between
the Palestinians and the Israelis are exemplary.
From a distance it’s plain how senseless it all is,
and how nobody can win, but you can feel the anger
and frustration seething inside you,
and you know you’d be out there,
telling yourself the old lie about
how it’s because you love your home
and family more than life itself
that you can feel your fist rising
against the armour
in another offensive headline,
your partner wailing at the news,
your children’s indescribable faces
howling into the cycle.



JAMES BROWN lives in Wellington with his partner and two children, where he makes a living as a freelance copy-editor and writer. His three books of poetry – Go Round Power Please, Lemon and Favourite Monsters – are all published by Victoria University Press. A fourth collection, The Year of the Bicycle, is in the pipeline. He is also the author behind the popular non-fiction booklet Instructions for Poetry Readings (Braunias University Press).

About ‘The Wicked’ James writes: ‘I began the poem in 2003 and put it aside due to lack of time before picking it up again during my stint as the 2004 Writer in Residence at Victoria University. I wanted to write an angry poem simply because I think anger is quite a hard thing to express successfully in poetry. There are a lot of poems about things that might make a reader feel angry, but they still tend go about detailing them in quite restrained ways. I wanted “The Wicked” to sound angry. I don’t recall being angry about anything when actually writing it, but it certainly wasn’t hard to find things to feel angry about. The poem contrasts small, domestic annoyances with a much more significant site of anger, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, in order to show that there isn’t necessarily a smooth correlation between cause and response. I tried to imagine how I might respond if I were forced to live as the Palestinians are forced to live or if a member of my family had been killed by the opposing side, and concluded that it would be very hard for me to turn the other cheek. As a cyclist, there are often times when I fear for my life, and mostly the flight reflex kicks in and I go onto the footpath, but sometimes, if the opportunity presents itself, the desire to fight back briefly takes over. Am I an angry young man? I doubt it (for starters, I’m no longer young), but I can be impatient, and unfairness and bullying always raise my hackles.’

Sunday, November 27, 2011

To Death - Ian Wedde

To Death - Ian Wedde

Death takes them all, that’s why
We never see it. Death’s never in
The picture. But everything we see, we see
Because death has. Death took the pictures.
Death looked at Chloe whom the poet
Begged not to run to her mother. Chloe
Ran into the oblivious arms of death.
Quintilius lies in the sleep that goes on
Without ever ending, and the music has faded away
That could have restored blood to the veins of the shade
Death saw. Lydia no longer
Wakes up to hear the sound of gravel thrown
Against her shuttered windows in the night.
Death pictured what lay behind the shutters
And Lydia grew old on the journey between
Her chamber and the dark street where death waited.
O passerby, do not refuse a few
Handfuls of sand to cover up the corpse
Of Archytas. It may be you who needs these rites
Some day, when death has viewed you as he did Archytas,
Who counted all the uncountable grains of sand
On the lonely beach. Death pictured my mother
And my father on the Picton foreshore, cheek by cheek
Under Gemini, twin sons unborn, tinkle
Of jazz from the ferryboat. And death looked at their sons.




IAN WEDDE was born in Blenheim in 1946. He spent part of his childhood in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and England before returning to New Zealand at age 15. One of the most admired poets of his generation, he has also written novels, short stories and art criticism. In the mid-1980s he co-edited the ground-breaking anthology Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse with Harvey McQueen. Since 1994, he has been curator of art and visual culture at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The Commonplace Odes (2001) marks his return to poetry after a hiatus of nearly a decade.
Wedde comments: “Death is one of the themes in The Commonplace Odes which winds right through the book and is the main business of the final poem, ‘Carmen Saeculare’. It is there (the theme) in formal ways, as a kind of address — the gravity of the funerary ode, sombre, and respectful of grief; and it is there (the theme of death) as a flipside of anarchic appetite, disrespectful of ordinariness which is not lived as though this life were your last. ‘To Death’ has borrowed a number of personifications of death from the odes of Horace (Chloe, Quintillius, Lydia, Archytas, etc) and has threaded them on an idea carried over from the previous ode (mine not Horace’s) which derives from my own long-dead father’s lifelong habit of taking photographs. Because he took them, he was never in them. We don’t see death, because he takes the pictures. Death pictures something, he frames it up, it’s going to die. So get a life.”
http://www.nzepc.auckland.ac.nz/authors/wedde/
http://www.victoria.ac.nz/modernletters/bnzp/2001/wedde.html

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Desert Fires – Fiona Kidman

Desert Fires – Fiona Kidman

1.
The morning lake was ironed flat
As fresh blue linen, a heron
Was wedged in a willow tree branch.
I turned away from a lover’s kiss,
unwilling to plumb the heart of bliss,
for that’s Pandora’s box,
and I have worn memory like a shroud
too long; as with that chocolate box lake,
I cannot lift the lid,
there are evil sweetmeats
in its depths.

2.
I did not know that the road south
would be so unsafe. Still
both victim and plunderer, seduction
was imminent. The hills lay like breasts,
the valleys opened like thighs, sister Sappho
joined me as I plucked each bush,
wild purple heather, downy toi-toi hair,
my hands bled from the rose bush thorns
yet still I gathered their scarlet hips,
I could feel their shape against my mouth:

3.
I travelled on, the desert grew dark,
a strange cloud blotted out the world,
approaching cars warned me of the peril beyond,
with full-blown headlights at height of day:
then I saw the tongues of fire licking the plain.
Sisters, we consume and are consumed,
every country has its hear of darkness
and every heart its core of fear.
So I passed beyond the fires
and on the home straight run,
I told myself,
it all seems safe enough again.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The womb - Apirana Taylor

The womb - Apirana Taylor

Your fires burnt my forests
leaving only the charred bones
of totara rimu and kahikatea

Your ploughs like the fingernails
of a woman scared my face
It seems I became a domestic giant

But in death
you settlers and farmers
return to me
and I suck on your bodies
as if they they are lollipops

I am the land
the womb of life and death
Ruamoko the unborn God
rumbles within me
and the fires of Ruapehu still live

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sad joke on a marae - Apirana Taylor

Sad joke on a marae - Apirana Taylor

Tehei Mauriora I called
Kupe Paikea Te Kooti
Rewi and Te Rauparaha
I saw them
grim death and wooden ghosts
carved on the meeting house wall

In the only Maori I knew
I called
Tihei Mauriora
Above me the tekoteko raged
He ripped his tongue from his mouth
and threw it at my feet

Then I spoke
My name is Tu the freezing worker
Ngati D.B. is my tribe
The pub is my marae
My fist is my taiaha
Jail is my home

Tihei Mauriora I cried
They understood
the tekoteko and the ghosts
though I said nothing but
Tihei Mauriora
for that's all I knew

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Taiaha haka poem - Apirana Taylor

Taiaha haka poem - Apirana Taylor

I am Te-ngau-reka-a-tu
I once danced with killers
who followed the War God
beyond the gates of hell
to kill in the gardens of pleasure

I am the taiaha left among people
who dance and twirl poi
in gaudy halls
of plastic Maoridom

Father give me guts
Evil one why
have you forsaken me

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The net – Fleur Adcock

The net – Fleur Adcock

She keeps the memory-game
as a charm against falling in love
and each night she climbs out of the same window
into the same garden with the arch for roses –
no roses, though; and the white snake dead too;
noting but evergreen shrubs, and grass, and water,
and the wire trellis that will trap her in the end.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Monday, November 21, 2011

December Morning – Fleur Adcock

December Morning – Fleur Adcock

I raise the blind and sit by the window
dry-mouthed, waiting for light.
One needs a modest goal
something safely attainable.
An hour before sunrise
(due at seven fifty-three)
I go out into the cold new morning
for a proper view of that performance;
walk greedily towards the heath
gulping the blanched air
and come in good time to Kenwood.
They have just opened the gates.
There is a kind of world here, too:
on the grass slopes above the lake
in the white early Sunday
I see with something like affection
people I do not know
walking their unlovable dogs.





O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Drought Breaks – Fleur Adcock

The Drought Breaks – Fleur Adcock

The wet gravely sound is rain.
Soil that was bumpy and crumbled
flattens under it, somewhere;
splatters into mud. Spiked grass
grows soft with it and bends like hair.
You lean over me, smiling at last.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mornings After – Fleur Adcock

Mornings After – Fleur Adcock

The surface dreams are easily remembered:
I wake most often with a comforting sense
of having seen a pleasantly odd film –
nothing too outlandish or too intense;

of having, perhaps, befriended animals,
made love, swum the Channel, flown in the air
without wings, visited Tibet or Chile:
simple childish stuff. Or else the rare

recurrent horror makes its call upon me:
I dream one of my sons is lost or dead,
or that I am trapped in a tunnel underground;
but my scream is enough to recall me to my bed.

Sometimes, indeed, I congratulate myself
on the nice precision of my observation:
on having seen so vividly a certain
colour; having felt the sharp sensation

of cold water on my hands; the exact taste
of wine or peppermints. I take a pride
in finding all my senses operative
even in sleep. So, with nothing to hide,

I amble through my latest entertainment
again, in the bath or going to work,
idly amused at what the night has offered;
unless this is a day when a sick jerk

recalls to me in a sudden vision:
I see myself inspecting the vast slit
of a sagging whore; making love with a hunchbacked
hermaphrodite; eating worms or shit;

or rapt upon necrophily or incest.
And whatever loathsome images I see
are just as vivid as the pleasant others.
I flush and shudder: my God, was that me?

Did I invent so ludicrously revolting
a scene? And if so, how could I forger
until this instant? And why now remember?
Furthermore (and more disturbing yet)

are all my other forgotten dreams like these?
Do I, for hours of my innocent nights,
wallow content and charmed through verminous muck
rollick in the embraces of such frights?

And are the comic or harmless fantasies
I wake with merely a deceiving guard,
as one might put a Hans Andersen cover
on a volume of the writings of De Sade?

Enough, enough. Bring back those easy pictures,
Tibet or antelopes, a seemly lover,
or even the black tunnel. For the rest,
I do not care to know. Replace the cover.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Afterwards – Fleur Adcock

Afterwards – Fleur Adcock

We weave haunted circles about each other,
advance and retreat in turn, like witchdoctors
before a fetish. Yes, you are right to fear
me know, and I you. But love, this ritual
will exhaust us. Come closer. Listen. Be brave.
I am going to talk to you quietly
as sometimes, in the long past (you remember?),
we made love. Let us be intent, and still. Still.
There are ways of approaching it. This is one:
this gentle talk, with no pause for suspicion,
no hesitation, because you do not know
the thing is upon you, until it has come –
now , and you did not even hear it.
Silence
is what I am trying to achieve for us.
A nothingness, a non-relatedness, this
unknowing into which we are sliding now
together: this will have to be our kingdom.

Rain is falling. Listen to the gentle rain.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A surprise in the peninsular – Fleur Adcock

A surprise in the peninsular – Fleur Adcock

When I cam in that night I found
the skin of a dog stretched flat
and nailed upon my wall between the
two windows. It seemed freshly killed –
there was blood at the edges. Not
my dog: I have never owned one,
I rather dislike them. (Perhaps
whoever did it knew that.) It
was a light brown dog, with smooth hair;
no head, but the tail still remained.
On the flat surface of the pelt
was branded the outline of the
peninsula, singed in thick black
strokes into the fur: a coarse map.
The position of the town was
marked by a bullet-hole; it went
right through the wall. I placed my eye
to it, and could see the dark trees
outside the house, flecked with moonlight.
I locked the door then, and sat up
all night, drinking small cups of the
bitter local coffee. A dog
would have been useful, I thought, for
protection. But perhaps the one
I had been given performed that
function; for no one came that night,
nor for three more. On the fourth day
it was time to leave. The dog-skin
still hung on the wall, stiff and dry
by now, the flies and the smell gone.
Could it, I wondered, have been meant
not as a warning, but a gift?
And, scarcely shuddering, I drew out
the nails out and took it with me.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Composition for Words and Paint – Fleur Adcock

Composition for Words and Paint – Fleur Adcock

This darkness has a quality
That poses us in shapes and textures,
One plane behind another,
Flatness in depth.

Your face; a fur of hair; a striped
Curtains behind, and to one side cushions;
Nothing recedes, all lies extended.
I sink upon your image.

I see a soft metallic glint,
A tinsel weave behind the canvas,
Aluminum and bronze beneath the ochre.
There is more in this than we know.

I can imagine drawn around you
A white line, in delicate brush-strokes:
Emphasis; but you do not need it.
You have completeness.

I am not measuring your gestures;
(I have seen you measure those of others,
Know a mind by a hand’s trajectory,
The curve of a lip.)

But you move, and I move towards you,
Draw back you head, and I advance.
I am fixed to the focus of your eyes.
I share your orbit.

Now I discover things about you:
Your thin wrists, a tooth missing;
And how I melt and burn before you.
I have known you always.

The greyness from the long windows
Reduces visual depth; but tactile
Reality defines half-darkness.
My hands prove you solid.

You draw me down upon your body,
Hard arms behind my head.
Darkness and soft colours blur.
We have swallowed the light.

Now I dissolve you in my mouth,
Catch in the corners of my throat
The sly taste of your love, sliding
Into me, singing.

Just as the birds have started singing.
Let them come flying through the windows
With chains of opals around their necks.
We are expecting them.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Monday, November 14, 2011

For Andrew – Fleur Adcock

For Andrew – Fleur Adcock

‘Will I die?’ you ask. And so I enter on
The dutiful exposition of that which you
Would rather not know, and I rather not tell you.
To soften my ‘Yes’ I offer compensations –
Age and fulfillment (‘It’s so far away;
You will have children and grandchildren by then’)
And indifference (‘By then you will not care’).
No need: you cannot believe me, convinced
That if you always eat plenty of vegetables,
And are careful crossing the street, you will live for ever.
And so we close the subject, with much unsaid –
This, for instance: Though you and I may die
Tomorrow or next year, and nothing remain
Of our stock, of the unique, preciously-hoarded
Inimitable genes we carry in us,
It is possible that for many generations
There will exist, sprung from whatever seeds,
Children straight-limbed, with clear inquiring voices,
Bright-eyed as you. Or so I like to think:
Sharing in this your childish optimism.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Unexpected Visit - Fleur Adcock

Unexpected Visit - Fleur Adcock

I have nothing to say about this garden.
I do not want to be here, I can’t explain
What happened. I merely opened a usual door
And found this. The rain

Has just stopped, and the gravel paths are trickling
With water. Stone lions, on each side,
Gleam like wet seals, and the green birds
Are stiff with dripping pride.

Not my kind of country. The gracious vistas,
The rose-gardens and terraces, are all wrong –
As comfortless as the weather. But here I am.
I cannot tell how long

I have stood gazing at grass too wet to sit on,
Under a sky so dull I cannot read
The sundial, staring across the curving walks
And wondering there they lead;

Not really hoping, though, to be enlightened.
It must be morning, I think, but there is no
Horizon behind the trees, no sun as clock
Or compass. I shall go

And find somewhere among the formal hedges
Or hidden behind a trellis, a toolshed. There
I can sit on a box and wait. Whatever happens
May happen anywhere,

And better, perhaps, among the rakes and flowerpots
And sacks of bulbs than under this pallid sky:
Having chosen nothing else, I can at least
Choose to be warm and dry.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Incident – Fleur Adcock

Incident – Fleur Adcock

When you were lying on the white sand,
A rock under your head, and smiling,
(Circled by dead shells), I came to you
And you said, reaching to take my hand,
‘Lie down.’ So for a time we lay
Warm on the sand, talking and smoking,
Easy; while the grovelling sea behind
Sucked at the rocks and measured the day.
Lightly I fell asleep then, and fell
Into a cavernous dream of falling.
It was all the cave-myths, it was all
The myths of tunnel or tower or well –
Alice’s rabbit-hole into the ground,
Or the path of Orpheus: a spiral suitcase
To hell, furnished with danger and doubt.
Stumbling, I suddenly woke; and found
Water about me. My hair was wet,
And you were sitting on the grey sand,
Waiting for the lapping tide to take me:
Watching, and lighting a cigarette.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Before Sleep – Fleur Adcock

Before Sleep – Fleur Adcock

Lying close to your heart-beat, my lips
Touching the pulse in your neck, my head on your arm,
I listen to your hidden blood as it slips
With a small furry sound along the warm
Veins; and my slowly-flowering dream
Of Chinese landscapes, river-banks and flying
Splits into sudden shapes – children who scream
By a roadside, blinded men, a woman lying
In a bed filled with blood: the broken ones.
We are so vulnerable. I curl towards
That intricate machine of nerves and bones
With it’s built-in life: your body. And to your words
I whisper ‘Yes’ and ‘Always’, as I lie
Waiting for thunder from a stony sky.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Note on Propertius 1.5 – Fleur Adcock

Note on Propertius 1.5 – Fleur Adcock

Among the Roman love-poets, possession
Is a rare theme. The locked and flower-hung door
The shivering lover, are allowed. To more
Buoyant moods, the canons of expression
Gave grudging sanction. Do we, then assume,
Find Propertius tear-sodden and jealous,
That Cynthia was inexorable callous?
Plenty of moonlight entered that high room
Whose doors had met his Alexandrine battles;
And she, so gay a lutanist, was known
To stitch and doze a night away, alone,
Until the poet tumbled in with apples
For penitence and for her head his wreath,
Brought from a party, of wine-scented roses –
(The garland’s aptness lying, one supposes,
Less in the flowers than in the thorns beneath:
Her waking could, he knew, provide his verses
With less idyllic themes.) On to her bed
He rolled the round fruit, and adorned her head;
Then gently roused her sleeping mouth to curses.
Here the conventions reassert their power:
The apples fall and bruise, the roses wither,
Touched by a swallowed moon. But there were other
Luminous nights – (even the cactus flower
Glows briefly golden, fed by spiny flesh) –
And once, as he acknowledged, all was singing:
The moonlight musical, the darkness clinging,
And she compliant to his every wish.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

For a Five-year-old – Fleur Adcock

For a Five-year-old – Fleur Adcock

A snail is climbing up the window-sill
Into your room, after a night of rain.
You call me in to see, and I explain
That it would be unkind to leave it there:
It might crawl to the floor; we must take care
That no one squashes it. You understand,
And carry it outside, with a careful hand,
To eat a daffodil.

I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails:
Your gentleness is moulded still by words
From me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds,
From me, who drowned your kittens, who betrayed
Your closest relatives, who purveyed
The harshest kind of truth to many another.
But that is how things are: I am your mother,
And we are kind to snails.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wife to Husband - Fleur Adcock

Wife to Husband - Fleur Adcock

From anger into the pit of sleep
You go with a sudden skid. On me
Stillness falls gradually, a soft
Snowfall, a light cover to keep
Numb for a time the twitching nerves.

Your head on the pillow is turned away;
My face is hidden. But under snow
Shoots uncurl, the green thread curves
Instinctively upwards. Do not doubt
That sense of purpose in mindless flesh:
Between our bodies a warmth grows;
Under the blankets hands move out,
Your back touches my breast, our thighs
Turn to find their accustomed place.

Your mouth is moving over my face:
Do we dare, now, to open our eyes?




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Monday, November 7, 2011

An open door – Kevin Ireland

An open door – Kevin Ireland

we forgot to close the kitchen door
a sycamore propels itself inside

spiders dangle from a shelf
a mould begins to mat across the floor

insets moths pour through a shaft
of glossy specks of dust and seed

tangled ferns and trees thrust up
the ceiling bursts the walls unseam and fall

our curtains deck out burrows nooks and nests
daddy-long-legs tinker with our radio

a minah-bird collects your lockets and bangles
a weasel sticks its nose into my books

our Woolworth’s clock that never used to go
beats like a gong beneath a mossy heap of bricks.




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Auto-Da-Fe – Kevin Ireland

Auto-Da-Fe – Kevin Ireland

yesterday you burnt your olden times:
proposals snapshots invitations declarations

your years of real and fake and flash affection
gusted into blushing flame

your lovers’ hands across your shoulders
baked and blistered cracked then peeled away

your grinning moments at the horn mad beach
fanned hot crackles then twisted into ash

yesterday you gave cruel riddance to the lot
and sent your past loves to the stake

but though I am impressed by ways or codes
so drawn to irreversible convictions

yet I am of that self-same faith which brought
these luckless men to their ordeal by fire

thus should I fear for our remembrance:
confess new fuel to a later blaze?




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A guide to perfection – Kevin Ireland

A guide to perfection – Kevin Ireland

you complain of your body
and make out a detailed list
of what you call your worst deformities

you start at your toes and proceed
to ankles and knees bottom stomach
breast lungs jaw eyes hair skin

I reply that this is vanity:
you must have been inspecting yourself
too closely and with too much interest

low self-esteem is not aware
of how to turn this way and that
to show ill-favours quite so prettily

you wont agree: for far too long
you have denied your glamour: you won’t
undress your eyes – and so I threaten

to hold you in the circus mirror of my mind
and by distortion warp you straight and show
how neatly blankly coldly perfect you could be




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Caroline beside the sundial – Kevin Ireland

Caroline beside the sundial – Kevin Ireland

for a fraction
everything was stilled

camera-lens and water-lily

a droplet hanging from a leaf
undropped

the gnomon
idled in the sun

thistledown bristled

you said the dial
said one

for five-hundredths of a second
the shutter gaped

ripples pitched the lily-pond

droplets plopped
thistledown swarmed off

in that tripped moment
daylight blinked

time lay in a tray of fixative

Caroline and Eternity
Are linked




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A popular romance – Kevin Ireland

A popular romance – Kevin Ireland

will you have me?
groaned the frog
my squashy love
is all agog

do you care?
complained the crab
a true heart serves
this horny scab

the prince exclaimed
if you agree
your love could change
the brute in me

they’re all the same
the princess said
it’s like a bestiary
in my bed




O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.