Saturday, July 12, 2008

Read Write Poem: Dark Summer


Totaranui Beach, Golden Bay
Summer 2007


Summer Holiday
That day
we walked
too far and
the tide covered
the rocks
on our return.

We timed our
wading with
the waves,
oyster shells
cutting our feet.
A sting-ray swam
nearby.

Back on the
beach the surf
pursued us
into the
sand dunes where
Katipo hid
waiting.

There were sea
lice in your
togs and
sunburn stung
so that the
elastic from
your underwear
bit at your legs.

We had dinner
at Cobb and Co
and Dad got
food poisoning
from the mushrooms.

It was the
worst day
of the summer.

And a bonus, seeing as the Read Write Poem girls were sweet enough to provide me with my own prompt. I had already started working on the original prompt, but their generosity could not be overlooked!

Winter
In Wellington
we dwindle,
shrink to fit
between the rain,
to duck beneath
the wind.
We slow -
houses growing
cobwebs,
drafty villas too
cold for movement.
We hide in bed,
preserve energy instead.
Yes, we know these are
not tropical isles.
And yet here,
no double glazing,
central heating.
Such ridiculous
luxuries!
We are
snow-covered
hills and sleet
carried across
the water from
the Kaikouras.
We are waiting,
waiting for the
storm to pass,
the wind to die,
the sun to shine.
We are waiting
for the Shining
Cuckoo
, the
orgiastic Tuis
of the spring.
We are waiting,
but we,
the antipodians,
are survivors.
Here at the
Southern end
of this Northern
isle.

9 comments:

polkadotwitch said...

generous of you to respond with two pieces!

the first one, especially, tells a terrific story -- what incredible details.

Nathan said...

"We timed our wading with the waves..." beautiful marriage of sound and sense. You have that eye for detail and ear for phrases that make a poet.

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Yeah, I love both of these and coincidently I just went to a leaving do - a friend of ours and her family are emigrating to NZ.

Jeff said...

Wow! I was so impressed with the first poem. Amazing imagery and wonderful word smithery. I really felt the waves and tasted the salt spray and felt the sting of the sunburn. Wow (again)!

I have to be completely honest and say that the end left me a little disappointed. I think if the reader is left to draw his/her own conclusion, the poem truly succeeds.

Without that last stanza (or maybe a different version) this is a first class poem.

I don't suppose you'd like to submit it to my poetry mag for publication? We publish only short poems (20 lines or less) but I would be interested in printing the first three stanza, if you could stand to see it in print that way...or maybe changing the line breaks to fit in the fourth stanza?

Let me know what you think.

GREAT JOB! A wonderful summer poem.

Crafty Green Poet said...

The first poem perfectly evokes anm uncomfortable beach walk, that spider you linked to is quite terrifying, it even looks evil...

one more believer said...

beautiful... oh the tides, funny how we forget in the moment... the red spider in oz, scary... always hung out in the outhouse in the back of the house... hadnt thought abt that in years... poor dad, probably wasnt feel too good... winter in wellington a beautiful gaze of life... thank you for the links...

throwshiswords said...

the image of elastic "biting" on sunburned skin is very effective -- it really does feel like that, doesn't it :-)

i haven't actually gone too far on the beach and been cut off by the tide myself before, but it is the image i've had in my mind that kept me from being too adventurous a few times!

about those katipo -- wow, i never get over how many dangerous animals you all have down there. if i were there, i'm not sure i could ever get out of the house LOL

Catherine said...

I'm a bit slow to visit the contributors this week - enjoyed both of these.
I have to admit I've never seen a katipo and gather they are quite shy and leave you alone if you leave them alone - unlike some of the nastier denizens "across the ditch".
Hope your blog visitors above don't confuse NZ with Australia too much!

Pip said...

Hi all

Thanks for your comments! Sorry for my absence. As Catherine has hinted at, the Katipo is New Zealand's only poisonous creature and it's very shy. I've never seen one either.

Jeff, if you read this, I am interested in the opportunity to have my poem published in the form you suggest. I have to confess I didn't like the last stanza either but chose to publish it in a draft form so as to get something out there.