new zealand electronic poetry centre


Alan Brunton



A Small Stone for Alan Brunton’s Cairn   

It is the last Saturday in June, well
into the southern winter, the wind coming up
from unseen mountains to bring the
big chill up to the door of the backroom
where I sit at the computer, the cat 
on the stool beside me & the hissing heater 
keeping us company.  I am surrounded 
by books, many of which I have read
over & over, as I replay favourite tracks 
from tapes & CDs — Youssou N’Dour 
& Neneh Cherry singing 7 Seconds
Miles Davis’ Time after Time.  I am 
surrounded by instruments of memory. 

I am surrounded by words, many of which
I use over & over, time after time.  There
are also those of which I was enamoured
but never got to use, save all together,
in the one poem.  & there are some
that I have kept hidden, in pristine state, 
mainly adjectives, because I never 
found the proper noun to give them to.

I am isolated by instruments of memory.
Even when the computer is turned off
Michele’s email is retained as an image burnt 
on the eyes as the light departs.  “He’s gone.”
& the sound system is the one on which
I listened to the Big Smoke tape & heard 
Alan’s voice for the first time, was caught by it
& drew from out of the secret stash to give 
to him


Isolate, desolate, surrounded by instruments
of memory, I will read Michele’s email 
over & over even if I never see it again; & 
though I retain the sound & the sensation
of the tape, I know that when the wind
dies down I will play it once more, to 
listen to that voice again, as sweet as honey. 


Mark Young



Last updated 06 December, 2002