new zealand electronic poetry centre


Kendrick Smithyman

online works


"When Moyle retired they found a desk
drawer crammed with bunches of keys.
Moyle was systematic, librarians have to be.
Each bunch was labelled
ĎI donít know what these are keys to.í
A whole drawerful Ė he was in charge of
complicated information retrieval services."
ĎI donít know what these are keys to.í
Thatís how people think universities work,
finding things which will lock.

A notable social scientist used to teach
in a boarding house not now remembered clearly.
He was brilliant at seminars, his lectures were
off the cuff, publishers sought him,
students ran scared, he was so much in command,
                  One day at his office
he was very proud of himself.
Sleeves rolled, glasses dazzling, he stacked
oh it must have been close on a hundred
biggish flat boxes, the kind which dress shops used.
"Look at that now, years of it! At last,
Iíve got it all arranged." Each box, labelled.

The first said Field Notes, Classified.
The second, Field Notes, Classified.
The ninety-plus others, Field Notes, Unclassified.
Thatís how people think
university people work, bringing to order,
all the time collecting, finding out, systematising.

Are You Going to the Pictures? AUP 1987, p. 69.



Last updated 11 May 2001