Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Robert Sullivan’s ‘Dream’


I woke with the birds.

We were on a bus somewhere in England,

a double-decker red one and the driver

turned up an arterial which had turned to grass.

He turned us around and took us commuters

in the reverse direction. We were working

our way through the contents of my soft

gym bag which was filled with beads,

shiny coins, and we’d piled them up on the bus floor

so a young boy with his parents sitting opposite us

dived into them before I could scoop them back.

I had asked the bus driver if he could let a passenger know

that they might miss their bus stop now that

we had changed direction, but he instead quoted

a lengthy passage of Shakespeare I think

in which he quoted owls do cry.

Robert Sullivan

Robert Sullivan lives in Oamaru. He belongs to Ngāpuhi (from Kāretu and Omanaia), and Kāi Tahu (Karitāne). His seven collections of poetry includeCaptain Cook in the Underworld, Shout Ha! to the Skyand the best-selling Star Waka. He co-edited three major anthologies of Pacific and Māori poetry. His PhD, Mana Moana, examines the work of five other indigenous Pacific poets. His eighth collection, Tūnui / Comet will be published by AUP later this year.

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