To Waitemata Harbour
You have such
You hold the islands
on the tips of your
fingers, lightly so
you never submerge
them. Firmly enough that
they don't float away.
If a person could hold
another person like that -
there would only be
- Sarah Quigley
Some of the best events at the Word Christchurch Writers Festival were the free ones. For instance, on Friday evening there was a launch of three poetry books: Hinemoana Baker's Waha (Mouth), Kerrin P Sharpe's There is a medical name for this, and Essential New Zealand Poems. (Not so much the launch, as a launch, as there have been launches of the latter book around the country).
The one drawback was trying to fit a celebration of all three books into the space of an hour.Nevertheless, I enjoyed the readings and was happy to purchase all three books.
Sarah Quigley's poem is included in Essential New Zealand Poems. It is one I have loved since I first came across it in AUP New Poets I published by Auckland University Press in 1999.
Sarah is a novelist, critic and columnist as well as having published two poetry collections. She was born and grew up in Christchurch, obtained a D Phil in Literature from Oxford University, and returned to Christchurch where,among other things, she taught for a time at the School for Young Writers - two of my daughters were among the young people who benefitted from her tuition. She was the inaugural winner of the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers' Residency in 2000, and has since lived and worked in Berlin. Her 2011 novel The Conductor was the number one bestselling fiction title in New Zealand for 21 weeks.
Thanks to Sarah for permission to post her poem here.
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