Letter to Michele Leggott
Our old house went unconditional today to contract number four.
This does mean that Michael will paint the rest of his John Leech show
in our new lounge as the tenants are in the barn until mid June.
Quite fitting -- bearing in mind the poems I am currently writing -- to be thinking
in the syrupiness of oil paint. I get all Zen out here sometimes and wonder what words can do, how to settle poetry on paper (never rock nor sky), as I drink green tea and jump at the sound of a voice.
artichokes lentils rocket saffron rice
Sangiovese grape juice from Heron’s Flight
up the long drive to check the mail and the bird calls
a bath or shower outside in the rain
every corner sky, bush through every frame
an overflow, ‘I should be a real poet’
a clearing, ‘content to be in the moment’
a beauty, ‘and hold my tongue’
south of the bleakness of envy
under the darkness at no moon
north of the weariness of scorn
and we move to a dwelling of dreams
east of the poverty of exclusion
the words summering before us
west of the tightness of dogma
the light flaps as winter approaches
This is what I mean:
I crouch on the bent page like a displaced comma,
quite prepared to drop my eyelids on
everyone else's latest books.
I think the latest books
at night they reflect the stars
the words lagooning in the pitch black
the words yellowing on the open sand.
It’s because I can’t bear the drone of discontent.
By looking at the poems so hard
implacable old lines, lovable old lines
they become quartered with brightness
and then, the falling
the wind crashing against the cliffs of thought
the seaspray cutting into my skin,
I find myself back in the bush fishing in the ravines between
and wanting to look out our largest window
(how large it is)
for an eternity, touched by the line
patient for the hawk and the kereru.
I read Ian’s ‘Letter to Peter McLeavey’
towing the lines
in fabulous isolation.
Streamy and cunning,
by no means a placid lake
nor an abandoned station,
in other words
poetry goes a long way
poetry makes do.
So you may see it,
blood is red
the sea is blue.
Poetry, it’s something else,
it’s bare-lipped and brooding,
a simple window
so you may move it
across the shivers
the icy water and
the spectacular plains.
Today the gusty wind
dumps extravagant rain
upon my day.
I am in beauty.
The old wet gumboots
have no right place yet
in our house.
We move them
out of the rain.
Swanson / Te Henga, April 2006