Poetry Shelf Friday Poem: Bill Nelson’s ‘Regrets only’


Regrets only


You’ll take your grandfather roller skating,

watch from the edge of the rink.


For dinner you’ll make rabbit stew

and discuss the character of poultry.


Rose petals as a garnish, but also to eat.

Not many people know you can do that.


Sometimes it seems you’re the only two people

in an absorbing, character-based mystery.


You know this is all adding up to something—the roller skating, the rose petals, the rabbits.


©Bill Nelson 2016


from Bill Nelson’s newly released Memorandum of Understanding Victoria University Press 2016. Bill Nelson currently lives in Wellington. He was awarded the Biggs Family Prize in Poetry from International Institute of Modern Letters in 2009. He co-edits Up Country, an online journal devoted to outdoor pursuits. I did read elsewhere that he is a map maker! Lots of poems leapt out at me but I just love the ending of this poem and the electricity between those three things. This debut collection delivers clarity of voice along with tilts, kinks, uplifts and an essential dose of human warmth. Running along the beach yesterday, I was musing on how I am attracted to poems first through the ear, then through the heart, then through the tilting gaps and finally in the light of Ruth Padel’s chewy bits. I think this book delivers on all four in different ways. Worth adding to your shelf!


VUP page

Another poem on The Spin Off

Booksellers review

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