For Lauris 2
You had a gift for friendship.
When someone rang, you’d say,
“Ah, Liz” or “Ah, Murray” with a special
flicker on their name, as if the call
had made your day. Your first
collection came out when you were
fifty-one. You knew about grief,
pain, didn’t pretend to be young.
You knew all about “the small
events’ unmerciful momentum”.
You gained a readership as large
and loyal as that of a novelist.
(You’ll forgive me if I mention
you were a really lousy driver
and that your white cat sometimes had fleas.)
You treated other poets as pen pals
absorbed in the same enthralling enterprise,
not as rivals, threats or enemies.
It was a stiff pull up that path
to 22 Grass St – that rainbow
letterbox – but always worth it.
Harry Ricketts teaches English Literature and creative writing at Victoria University of Wellington Te Herenga Waka. His Selected Poems will be coming out from Victoria University Press later this year.