Monday Poem by Bernadette Hall



from a sonnet sequence called  Fancy Dancing



Drowning is painless, or so they say, when we die

we’ll look as though we’re sleeping. How many thousands

and thousands are sleeping now in the swollen waters

of the Mediterranean? It’s enough to break your heart.

Maggie dropped in for a drink after work

the other day. Tears in the street. I’ve given her

our mother’s lovely little blue Limoges plate.

We talked about the grandfather we’d never met,

Alexander, thrown out of the family for some reason

we are left to imagine. I found him earlier this year,

lying all on his own in an unmarked grave  in Ashburton.

You can drown in loneliness, it seems, just like in water.

We’ll put up a stone with his name on it, such a small gesture.



©Bernadette Hall


Bernadette Hall lives in a renovated bach at Amberley Beach in the Hurunui, North Canterbury. She has published ten collections of poetry, the most recent being Life & Customs (VUP 2013) and Maukatere, floating mountain (Seraph Press 2016). In 2015 shereceived the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry. In 2016 she was invested as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature.  In 2017 she joined with three other Christchurch writers to inaugurate He Kōrero Pukapuka, a book club which meets weekly at the Christchurch Men’s Prison.



1 thought on “Monday Poem by Bernadette Hall

  1. Pingback: Poetry Shelf review: Bernadette Hall’s Fancy Dancing: New and Selected Poems 2004 – 2020 | NZ Poetry Shelf

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