poems of landscape
Dark’s falling. Stand
on the corner of the verandah
in the glass cold clear
night, looking out
to emerald and ruby harbour
too sharp to stay
enough just to
greet the bones lying
on the moon
and two fishing boats
Cilla McQueen (from Homing In, 1982; Axis,poems and drawings, 2001)
meditation on blue
sudden spears of
blue on grey
with the violence of
love in a
Joanna Margaret Paul (from like love poems / selected poems, 2006)
Hitching alone for the first time
I took a bus to the outskirts of the town
I grew up in. It was so flat. The Southern Alps
blared at me like a car radio.
It was drizzling but auspicious.
Five rides and three hours to get seventy kilometres.
But I got dropped at the corner, things
bounding in me like rabbits. And there, there
was Sarah, on the daffodil farm. All that space.
Hours yet of daylight. How well I would live.
Maria McMillan (from Tree Space, 2014)
Jungle Be Gentle
Nothing decipherable under the bath-blue lights
of the office building
Nothing to eat at the Thai Cuban fusion lunch bar
No one to tell about the sadness
of late evening meetings
or the bus driver’s rage at the door that won’t shut
We have not all been thinking about tigers
but today I heard someone say
‘I think I would give my life for a tiger’
I would give my life for tigers
Therese Lloyd (from Other Animals, 2013)
Light and shade
On one side of the tree
Lightning never struck.
Ancient birds sat in the branches
No wind could lift their feathers.
On the other side
Black leaves smoked.
Birds flew close, perched
Then fell to the ground like fruit.
Frances Samuel (from Sleeping on Horseback, 2014)
if her hemline is too long
her silk skirt too light
her colours too lovely
a lyric is like water and water
is walked alongside, and loved.
Dinah Hawken (from Water, Leaves, Stones, 1995)
Kahlei: My Beloved
deep within the Tonga Trench
I hear you whisper
for blood ties us back
where our ola shells
in the black lacquered
of your eyes
Leilani Tamu (from The Art of Excavation, 2014)
Acknowledgements and thanks to the publishers of the books from which these poems were taken: Victoria University Press, John McIndoe/Otago University Press and Anahera. The drawing is by the editor.)