#Wishing I was writing

Today is National Poetry Day and I wish I could do it justice by sitting in the sun in my back yard with a cup of coffee and a pen. Alas, it cannot be so.

Instead, I’m going to blatantly plagiarise and share some lines from some of my favourite poems.


From Don Juan

But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think;
‘Tis strange, the shortest letter which man uses
Instead of speech, may form a lasting link
Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces
Frail man, when paper – even a rag like this – ,
Survives himself, his tomb, and all that’s his.


From Maud

Sooner or later I too may passively take the print

Of the golden age – why not?I have neither hope nor trust;

May make my heart as a millstone, set my face as a flint

Cheat and be cheated, and die: who knows? we are ashes and dust.

Favourite contemporary NZ poets

David Geary – read Death of a Fence-Post-Modernist, pleeease.

James Brown – How I write my love poems

Hone Tuwhare – I’ve talked about No Ordinary Sun a million times

Glenn Conquhoun –  To the girl who stood beside me at the check-out counter of Whitcoull’s bookstore in Hamilton on Tuesday.

For ten seconds I fell
in love with you.

The first second we met.
You were buying recipes.

The second second we turned,
Taking pieces of each other out of our eyes.

The third second we held each other gently.
Your skin was a small kitten playing with a curtain.

The fourth second we kissed.
Front gates clicked against our fence.

In the fifth second we married.
Your dress was made of Nikau palm.

The sixth second we built a house beside a lake
It was never tidy and the grass was up to our knees.

The seventh second we argued:
About toothpaste and poetry
and who would put out the rubbish.

The eighth second we grew fat and happy
and laid on the ground after eating.
Your stomach wriggled with a round child.

In the ninth second we were old in the same garden
of the same house by the same lake in the same love.

The tenth second we said goodbye.
Your hand slipped away from mine but
seemed to me like something I could feel.

We passed again beside each other without turning
as though we had somehow only met at the checkout
counter of Whitcoull’s bookstore in Hamilton
on a faintly blue September Tuesday.

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