Stu Bagby (55) has had individual poems published in New Zealand literary
journals over many years but this is his first published collection.
He lives on Aucklandís North Shore and worked as a gravedigger at the
Schnapper Rock Road Cemetery and Crematorium for the last 10 years. His
experiences there moved him to produce a book, Here After: living with
bereavement: personal experiences and poetry, which includes the experiences
of people he met in the course of his work, in their own words, and
contributions from poets. He hopes this book will help people going through
the grieving process and will also encourage them to consider writing as a
means of coping.
He also edited an anthology of other peopleís poetry The shortcut home:
poems / PNW Donnelly, Catherine Mair, Patricia Prime.
Father Doyle and the Sisters decide
A Dance is in order
For Standard Six, a secular
First Communion (our parents joke)
To prepare us for life beyond
The Convent. The girls are transformed
From uniforms into beautiful strangers
Whose language we boys can hardly
Put voice to. I dance.
I dance with Barbara Hackett.
To Perry Como? To Elvis? We dance
To music we will never forget.
* * *
Forty years later I read of Berlioz
Setting off in his sixties to find
The Girl with the Pink Shoes
With whom he once danced when he was twelve.
I donít remember what colour shoes
Barbara Hackett wore when we danced,
Or was wearing the next Friday night
When I met her out shopping with her mother.
We blushed, I remember that, and I remember
The way her mother looked at us.
She looked as if the whole wide world
Was a very sad place.
from AUP New Poets 2, Auckland UP, 2002.
© Stu Bagby,