Poetry Shelf Autumn Season: Poets pick a word – Janet Charman picks open


door tender


a trek through bush

arriving at the party breathless


climb onto the verandah

two chairs

one each side of the open door

sit there

with the music

pumping from the lit living room

down the empty hall


then who should step up?

out of the dark

a sparkler

a hum

as if with this starry fingering

the sinews of the self

are vibrating


at once



©Janet Charman  2017 (March 19th)


‘door tender’ is one of the etymological origins of clitoris.

That said this poem is set at a borderspace of self-fragilization, so the door is open.


Janet Charman’s essay ‘A piece of why’ appears in the current issue of The Poetry New Zealand Yearbook (Jack Ross Ed., 2017, PNZ, Massey University Press). In it some of the patriarchal implications of Allen Curnow’s three post-war Caxton and Penguin poetry anthologies are discussed.  Drawing in this, on the Matrixial theories of Bracha Ettinger, in terms of the affects and effects of transmissive trauma.



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