Someone was Burning the Forest
We did not know why the child was crying,
nor why he stood bare-shouldered at the window.
How had he come by those skimpy feathers?
The mother had fallen from the tower
a moment after she began to answer. I looked around
and there were many towers, also other bodies.
Now I was on the ground myself. I could hear
the child but no longer see him. Perhaps
he was still aloft. The towers were dissolving
yet surely there were trees. It was dark now
but I knew there must be many bodies.
I would need to climb to see where we might go.
Bill Manhire, Wow Victoria University Press, 2020
Have a listen: For the first Stress Test of 2021, Rough Trade Books welcomed special guest Bill Manhire to join them for music and poems.
Bill Manhire’s most recent books include Some Things to Place in a Coffin (2017), Tell Me My Name (with Hannah Griffin and Norman Meehan, 2017) and The Stories of Bill Manhire (2015). He was New Zealand’s inaugural poet laureate, and founded and until recently directed the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington. He has edited major anthologies, including, with Marion McLeod, the now classic Some Other Country: New Zealand’s Best Short Stories (1984).
Victoria University Press page
Poetry Shelf review
ANZL review (Anna Jackson)
Chris Tse reviews Wow on Nine to Noon, Radio NZ National
‘Huia’ Poem of the Week in the Guardian
Bill Wows the crowd at WORD