Thursday, July 12, 2007

Poetry Thursday: Sharing, not Writing

I haven't had time to write any of my own poetry this week. I've been too busy writing my first column for the Jog Squad website. Hamish just asked me whether that was my first piece as a professional writer. I'm not getting paid to do this, but yes I guess in a strange sort of way it is.

Instead of sharing a poem of my own today I thought I would share another from Essential New Zealand Poems, selected by Lauris Edmond and Bill Sewell. It was the beautiful imagery that drew me to this piece, the observation of a slow easing of day into night. That and my as-yet unanswered question as to the identity of the unaccomplished bride.

In Abendrot
By Ken Arvidson
From The Last four Songs of Richard Strauss at Takahe Creek above the Kaipara

The far Brynderwyns heave across the harbour,
rising upon the second tide, mountains
in mangrove moving, weaving
the last complexities of the sun. These
are a tangle of reflections. Over them,
the next peninsula shines yellow,
pastoral century of slow change,
and the roofs of pioneers, like beacons, prophesy
the imminence of fishermen, their lights
alive and casting, quick
to be out before the strong tide sucks and runs.

I sing of our long voyaging,
and you who led me, at my side;
I sing the saddest of all things;
I sing the unaccomplished bride.

The hills will cease to float soon, and the mangroves
ripple themselves away.
the wandering flames of grass will calm, and the cattle
boom night's gullies up and down. My lights
will anchor a headland. Boats will take bearings,
seeking the channel; and then,
the Kaipara will move out.
A shag clap-claps in shallows.
I point the way to an open sea,
though all my doors are closed,
and I within.

Go slowly, sun. A gentle death
of day is in the birds that wheel
in clouds to their accustomed rest,
and in the racing of the keel

before the racing of the tide,
and in the crowding of dark trees.
I sing the unaccomplished bride.
I sing my death in all of these.

(Originally published in Riding the Pendulum, Oxford University Press, 1973)

For more inspired New Zealand poetry I can highly recommend Poetry Thursday contributors
Catherine and Kay (Chief Biscuit). If I ever quit being so slack and get my blog roll established their's will be two of the first blogs I link to.

And, because it's not quite true that I haven't been writing poetry, here's a poem I posted to my blog on the weekend.


gautami tripathy said...

THanks for introducing me New Zealand poetry. I will look out for more.

I like what I read here.

Rob Kistner said...

Kiwi verse... how damned cool is this... ;) -- Thank you!

Catherine said...

Thanks Pip, but I haven't written any for a few weeks. I guess I will have to get started again :) I'm looking forward to getting Kay's book later in the month.

Pip said...

I realised you hadn't written any poetry, but I like your general posts anyway. I must order Kay's book actually. Thanks for reminding me.