To celebrate Prime Minister’s Literary Award: a poem by David Eggleton


Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry 2016: David Eggleton

To celebrate David Eggleton’s well-deserved honour, here is a poem from his award-winning book, The Conch Trumpet. Having just watched the second presidential debate, reading this lucid lament was a perfect antidote to my allergic reaction to stupidity.

David has gifted us a sumptuous and kinetic weave of lines across decades. He dares to challenge. He makes words sing. He lets us into an idiosyncratic and  warm absorption of the world about him, whether it is back country or city streets. Read one of his poems, and you get to see the world a little differently. Hear him read one of his poems and you are shuffling on your feet. His poetry is a banquet of constant return.

Congratulations David!


Clocks, Calendars, Nights, Days


Bitterness of bees dying out,

honeyless clouds, forest drought,

red, yellow, charcoal’s grain,

eyes smarting from a world on fire,

air thick with grit; cleave to it.

                                      by clocks, calendars, nights, days


Bog cotton frenzy of winter

dancing erasures over hills,

leaf litter corrected by snow;

fog quickly swallows the sea,

then starts in on the shore.

                                  by clocks, calendars, nights, days


Skerricks of twigs skim high,

flung far from grips of fists;

remember to dip your bucket

deep into the morning sun,

but don’t drown in apathy.

                                    by clocks, calendars, nights, days


Then down in earth’s mouth,

a slow song about the rain,

as you heave from the dark

to hear a thunderous beat

clocking on the old tin roof.

                                         by clocks, calendars, nights, days


By fast, slow, high, deep;

by sing, dance, laugh, sleep;

by climb, fall, jump, walk;

by chance, breath, cry, talk;

by clocks, calendars, nights, days.

                                    by clocks, calendars, nights, days


©  David Eggleton, The Conch Trumpet, Otago University Press, 2015

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