Poetry Shelf connections: Two poems from Kerrin Sharpe


maple moon


you text us photos garden to plate

baby beetroot out of isolation

tides of beetroot where the moon fed

turned them red clusters of beetroot

in scarlet jackets like foxy

waiting waiting at our window

we text you photos

of the maple planted at your birth

text haiku autumn breeze/flames of leaves/

warm an empty sky/ and misty morning/

her leaves light/the whole house/ and pray

when the world repairs its lungs

with the business of breathing

the rising sea between us

becomes a red bridge




on a night angry enough


the shadows of Hokitika

tussle with the sea

they fall rise s  l  i  d  e  to shore


drift like wood

whistle like bone

whir like green

dance like stone


some limp to the memorial

clock tower and find their names


some escape the wind’s lasso

and rattle the smoko window

of the old milk factory


others their backs bent

like harakeke wrestle rain

to reach the Hokitika River


and prise open muddy seams

of consecrated water

to release those miners


long drowned on boats

in the terrible rush


long drowned with dreams of gold

in the rage of a bridgeless river


now their faces are rock

now their faces are ice


the shadows weave a northern path

of rough layered schist


opening the mouth of the river

returning their breath to the sea


Kerrin Sharpe


Note from Kerrin:

The first, maple moon, was inspired by the lockdown and the practice around my neighbourhood (and elsewhere around the world of course) of people putting their soft toys in the window for children (and others like me!) to get pleasure from as we went on our daily walks. I put a large fox standing straight and tall in my window and watched as children walking by pointed up at it! It was wonderful.

The second, on a night angry enough, was written awhile back when I was staying on holiday in Hokitika on the West Coast. It was an angry, stormy night and from our hotel window I thought I saw figures rising out of the stormy sea outside. It still makes me shiver at the memory!


Kerrin has published four collections of poetry (all with Victoria University Press). She has also appeared in Best New Zealand Poems and in Oxford Poets 13 (Carcanet Press UK) and POETRY (USA) 2018. She is currently working on a collection of poems around the theme of snow, ice and the environment.








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