Tag Archives: a week of poems

A week of poems: Bernadette Hall’s ‘This for the end of a year’

 

 

 

This for the end of a year

        from a chorus of short-tongued alpine bees

 

Let us give thanks for the flushes and zones of colour

in the herb-field, for the alpine genera,

the wire rush and the tangle fern, the sheep sorrel

and the cats-ear, the gentians and the astelias and everything

that grows under the edge of a melting snow-bank.

 

Let us give thanks for the cranesbill geranium and

the mouse ear  myositis, for the ranunculus (little frog mouth,

little friend), for the feathered myrrh of the nival zone,

for the bog moss in the tarn,

for all that is and all that has been and all that is to come.

 

It is for us to keep our courage firm,

to nurse our appointed pain,

to await ‘that which springs ablaze of itself. ’

 

 

©Bernadette Hall

(first published under a different title in Life & Customs VUP 2013)

 

 

 

 

 

A week of poems: Gregory O’Brien’s ‘Poplar Tree, Tukituki River I and II’

 

 

Poplar tree, Tukituki River I

Head-

quarters of this

bird-brained

valley–

early summer–

tui brush

the sky’s blue

a quivering branch

signals another departure

endless comings and

goings–the blueness

of each black bird.

 

 

 

Poplar tree, Tukituki River II

Greenery, blue-

tail, tui

bloomery.

 

©Gregory O’Brien

 

 

 

 

 

A week of poems: Chris Price’s ‘Hasta la vista’

 

 

 

Hasta la vista

Things were fatal but not urgent.
We used more make-up and less speed.
We saw the hectic colour on one side
and the blank space on the other.
What went up came down then drilled its way
metres deep into the earth. Under
the turned table we learned to live
on our own chewing gum
while unfamiliar implements played
dinner music above our heads.
We adapted — it was what we knew
how to do — but the sugar cubes kept
getting smaller. Whereas before
we had been known by name,
now we only crept to the watering holes
under cover of darkness, then sat
with chins on our knees and waited while
the new customers declined our terms
in favour of their own impenetrable
argot. Sign met size and came off
second best, bedding down with lice
and livestock in the basement of
the air we used to own.  While
they were busy ransacking
the drawers there was still time to rue
our civilised discontents, but now
the sudden silence impends overthrow.
We stare at one another, suspended
in the pause before the shouting
and splintering Hollywood has, as it
turns out, so well prepared us for,
the breathless interval before our new
lives, hat and coatless in the snow.

©Chris Price    First published in Sport 38

A week of poems: Anne Kennedy’s ‘Island Bay has a new sea wall’

 

 

Island Bay has a new sea wall

 

 

The old sea wall was so grey

The new sea wall is so grey

 

The old sea wall was heavy as plutonium

The new sea wall is warm under my hand

 

Boats in the bay were from a painting

Boats in the bay wiggle their hips,

no-rhythm, they’re

white and nerdy

 

Old sea wall

New sea wall

 

Old sea wall met the sea like a fist bump.

Hello! Why, hello.

New sea wall fits with the sea

like lovers spooning

on and off

 

The old sea wall was a statue of a wall

The air trembles with sand and salt and light

 

There was the storm, the ravage, the pieces

 

Old sea wall was so Marguerite Duras

New sea wall is so Marguerite Duras

 

Old sea wall

New sea wall

 

Was curved like a public bar and Italian

fishermen leaned on it smoking

looking out to sea

New sea wall is so straight

glittering in the sun

 

Old sea wall was so wall

New sea wall is so new

 

After the storm the city council wanted

no wall at all!

Because all things

 

Old sea wall was so sea levels

New sea wall is so sea levels

 

The pieces, the people, the fight

 

Old sea wall was so gonesville

New sea wall is so concrete

so warm and gritty

island and sea

 

Old sea

New sea

 

 

©Anne Kennedy

 

 

 

 

 

A week of poems: Airini Beautrais’s ‘North Mole’

 

 

North Mole

 

We see Kupe climb out of his car

at the North Mole, pull his wetsuit

hood over his head, place foot after foot

on the sharp rocks towards where we are.

Hey man, he says, as he reaches the sand.

He’s given up on the gym –

it doesn’t motivate him.

He has more of a surfer’s mind. And the band?

Yeah, yeah, his music is going well.

He times his movements to the swell;

so many things could lie beyond the roll

of water, out past the end of the mole.

And each wave curling in to the shore

is like the sea saying what are you waiting for?

 

©Airini Beautrais

A week of poems: Joan Fleming’s ‘The mattress’

 

 

 

 

The mattress

 

The mattress

dumped

several hot

winters ago

on the dune

is a fantastical

ruin

postgraduate

art students

fevering

in the coastal

cities

with their backs

to the reddirt

desert

the thing

is being

eaten by

fantasise

of making

such an object

with its look

of casual

devastation

its tessellate

padding

its industrial

stitching

its coil

and cushion

insides

rupturing

gorgeously

its once-

whiteness

scuppered

its purpose

brindling

its sense of history

dense

yet

without

statement

(perfect)

anything

is possible

in the white

cube

of the gallery

(not so much

in Nyirripi

Yuendumu

Papunya

Kintore)

between

the sorry

camp

and the

kardiya

houses

Art Mattress

disintegrates

and convolutes

without

audience

back at camp

the wire

bedframe

serves

as a butcher’s table

then later

we sleep

on it

 

©Joan Fleming

 

 

 

A week of poems: Joan Fleming’s ‘The kids’

 

Thousand apologies but I had to take this poem down as I couldn’t get the format right on the blog (crazy to have tried!) and my screen shots didn’t work in all browsers.

I am posting another fabulous Joan-Fleming poem instead.