new zealand electronic poetry centre


Bill Manhire

online works


I was riding one of the best-loved horses in the world.
Hither and yon, we went, here and there,
in and out of the known universe.

'There goes Wild Bill,' people said.
'Look at that varmint go!'
There I went.

I went straight to the dictionary
and looked up varmint.
'What's it say?' said a friend. 'What's it say?'

I thumbed through the pages.
'Vermin,' I said, 'vermin
with an excrescent t.' 

'Well doggone,' said someone, 
and it's true, the dog was gone,
lost in the gulches and the sages,

leaving just me and the horse,
a couple of ornery critters 
who might just as well mosey along,

crossing the ford by starlight,
and miles away, the woman - 
lonely and beautiful - waking to find us gone.


ęBill Manhire

Last updated 11 July, 2001