Friday, 30 September 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Sonnet for My Jailer"

I never was a man to be restrained,
I looked for no horizon’s easy grin.
I thought that love demands a soul enchained,
The sleeper wakes, enchanted but hemmed in.
No prison could be sweeter than your mouth,
No sentence could be longer than your lashes;
And even in the wasted, icy south,
No wind could turn our fire, love, to ashes.
Though marriage is a word some use with scorn
And say the groom is cowered by her tongue;
Perhaps they waken to a dream stillborn
And never hear love’s music truly sung.
If you’re my jailer, throw away the key,
For locked within your heart I am set free.

My apologies to readers and fellow poets, I was away in the wilds of Takamatua on the beautiful Banks Peninsula as a Parent Helper with my son's Outdoor Education camp. The weather was glorious. So caught up was I in the preparation for it, that I forgot to schedule a poem posting for Tuesday so here it is 3 days late.

The poet wishes to acknowledge The Press in whose pages this poem first appeared.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Following Your Heart"

When the wind changes direction,
do your friends say that she is fickle?

Wheeling and soaring, the hawk searches
the sky's silent patterns for
whirlpools and eddies in the liquid blue,
following only the pulse of knowing that rises
in her breast and eye,
reading the ochre outcrops, the granite crags,
the shale shards and basalt buttresses,
the myriad forms of the thrusting, restless earth
that catch and shape the wind and sun,
melding invisible columns of power for the taking.
Fierce, steady eyes
scrutinise that patchwork of pIay,
tapping its effortless buoyancy
when the powerful sinew tires.
Like the hawk, you follow
the knowing,
wed to heart and bone
by the seamless lineage of trust and instinct.
That is the true voice
you hear
when you glide and ride
the pillar of easeful power:
the true voice

for the voices of your friends
can no longer be heard up here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Lover Without Cover"

When we flirt, we flirt with danger
and we must take great care that
that which simmers in our loins does not
explode in our faces.
It’s adrenalin/nitro,
an unstable mix.
Tip the balance and everybody gets hurt.

I know I’m vulnerable, ripe for the plucking,
a bird on the wire
trilling for the thrilling,
but we’d better figure out
whose goose we’re killing.

I don’t blame the wine, I blame myself.
Too easy to run my hands over the silk of you,
to want to taste the milk of you,
to plunder your lips while your husband sleeps
one step closer to heaven.

Like a cat-burglar,
I’ve breached the foyer
of this plush inner-city apartment building.
Working clandestine hours, stealthy, always gloved,
riding the high of the risk of discovery.

But taking the greater risk is the homeowner
uninsured against heartache.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Song of the Self-Exile"

What conflicts would you have me reconcile?
I’ll harmonise your bittersweet refrain.
Let’s sing the wistful song of self-exile
and gaze into the mirror of our pain.

For forty years, Moses, you have wandered
to wind up here complaining of the sand.
But how many chances have you squandered
to build your own, not find your promised land?

Do you look to this landscape for succour
and lament its lack of comforting green?
Where’s Aoraki to make the sky pucker?
Where are the kauri cathedrals serene?

I know the lakes of glass that keenly call,
but could there lurk beneath a taniwha?
One silver thread is missing from the pall,
not feeling white but feeling Pakeha. 

The hooks of blood are tearing at our flesh.
As one we clamour, stammer and revile.
But pay the price of love and look afresh,
though dry and red, these ancient charms beguile.

A longing in the shadow of your smile,
remembering the lover you first kissed.
Let’s sing the wistful song of self-exile
as Aotearoa calls through the mist.

While living in Perth, I met a fellow Kiwi called Alison Moses (too great a surname not to use symbolically) who had a great deal of ambivalence about her adopted homeland despite having lived there for several years. I wrote this for her and as a reflection of my own ambivalence. The call of home, family ties and one's own culture can be very strong.