Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Natalie Morrison’s ‘Be the Building’

Be the Building

Make sure you are in a comfortable

position. Steer your attention down

to your foundation piles.

Sense your I-beams, your

cross-braces. Let your elevators

rise and fall in their natural rhythm.

You may feel your thoughts begin to wander

between floors and out into the street.

This is perfectly normal. I want you to accept

the drift of your thoughts, then gather them back

to their allocated desks. Just focus on the stillness.

Listen to the many keyboards inside yourself.

You might experience them as a ticking cavern

or a preschool armed with felted mallets.

Notice the shuffle of your thoughts in your internal

stairwells. There may be pigeons scribbling their nests

in your eaves, a fresh pucker in your wiring, burnt toast

on Level 7. Acknowledge these,

and try not to ask yourself

why your pipes

feel so water-logged

these days, or whether

it’s just a clump of thoughts

leaning on a wall.

Let your elevators rise

and let them softly fall.

Natalie Morrison

Natalie Morrison has an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters, where she received the Biggs Family Prize for Poetry in 2016. She lives and works in Wellington. Her debut collection Pins appeared in 2020 (Victoria University Press).

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