Poetry Shelf Spring Season’s poetry fan: Marion Castree picks Louise Wrightson

Wood

(for Dave Russell)

 

I have lived on this quarter-acre

of clay longer than the trees.

 

The tī kōuka are the exception

and they are crumbling inside

their long reptilian trunks.

 

The elderly kowhai still

conjure up their gold nuggets

but the wood is moody; it sulks

and smolders in the fireplace.

 

It’s the wood from the big gum

that warms and entertains us;

every night is Guy Fawkes,

all flare, crackle and spicy scent.

 

Twelve cubic metres of Mac

keep us warm in winter;

there are stashes under the trees

among the pop-up seedlings.

 

The red eye of the fire

transforms us; we soften

under its gaze, swap news,

try to make sense of things.

 

Our house started as a cottage

that was sawn in half.

 

The four rooms were trundled

across paddocks, two at a time,

and dumped here on a slope.

 

The floors were tawa boards,

the walls were lined with scrim

and newspapers from 1886.

 

I won’t get started on the renos

but one of our many builders

came from Bucharest.

 

Dave thought he was a con

because his apron was so new

it creaked and his tools

were sharp and oiled (like him).

 

He muttered pisses of vood,

bluddy selly pisses of vood

because the houses in Romania

are made of brick or concrete.

 

He didn’t show for work

one day: he just rang and said

vood is too much feedle.

 

It can be—but when we ripped

up the cork tiles in the kitchen

and found the floor was matai

a friend said wistfully;

I’ve always wanted

to be that sort of person.

 

I’ve lived here forty years—

Forty years and not yet found 

a cure for being human—

James Keir Baxter wrote that;

he lived next door for a while.

 

This table I write on is rimu;

it hosts a kauri salad bowl,

steak knives with olive handles

and ironwood salad servers.

 

At a very posh party I saw

a woman help herself to some

decorative, coloured wood

shavings in a bowl and scatter

them over her chicken salad.

 

I watched, mesmerized,

while she chewed them up.

 

I should have told her the truth

but she had eaten them

by the time I remembered—

Better a cruel truth than a

comfortable delusion—

Edward Abbey said that;

I wish he’d lived next door.

 

Anyway, here is the thing;

when I am fed into the flames

(inside a plain plywood box)

please think of trees and vood;

they mean the world to me—

 

Breathe out and in.

Keep warm.

 

©Louise Wrightson Otari Poems & Prose Otari Press, 2014

 

cv_otari.jpg

 

 

Note from Marion: This poem is for Dave Russell and also a love poem to wood and all that it can mean to us in our world, particularly in our home patch. The wood in all it’s manifestations is a pleasure to behold.

I have allowed this poem to idealise home for me. Home of course requires give and take from its people but the presence of wood offers so much unconditionally. This is a magnificent poem, perfect in form and also in parts, very funny.

Marion Castree is a Wellington bookseller, NZ book buyer and staff manger at Unity Books.

Louise Wrightson has an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing from the IIML (The International Institute of Modern Letters) Victoria University, Wellington. She lives and writes near Otari-Wilton’s Bush, a 100-hectare reserve of regenerating forest. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louise Wrightson has an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing from the IIML (The International Institute of Modern Letters) Victoria University, Wellington. She lives and writes near Otari-Wilton’s Bush, a 100-hectare reserve of regenerating forest. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s