The Herbert Plot
for Donna Demente
As if you were chasing summer
and taking an apartment on the Riviera
or travelling on a tour of galleries
and architectural treasures,
you announce a stopover
at Herbert, ticket purchased,
documentation all in order,
the plot written and waiting
for an opening, there on those
green hills. Not highland hills
or Emerald Isles but Mount Charles
where the heart's land rises
hill upon hill and in their bones
history rattles. The slow gaze of time
wraps a hundred shades of love
and sorrow in a convergence
of yellow and blue, the last echo
of life tumbling down to the sea,
lifting into the requiem of night,
Donna, Donna, Madonna.
- Jenny Powell
A week or so back I had the pleasure of attending the launch of three new chapbooks published by Cold Hub Press. Among them was Jenny Powell's new collection , Ticket Home. Jenny was kind enough to give me permission to use a poem from the collection as my Tuesday Poem this week. I have been enjoying reading her poems very much. As often happens, to navigate the difficulty of choosing among them, I settled on one with personal resonances - I remember stopping off at the Herbert cemetery referred to in the poem some years ago, to search for the graves of my great great uncles and their families. It is a lovely small graveyard on a hillside shaded by pines and other trees. Donna Demente is an artist and gallery owner from Oamaru. Jenny says "The poem was inspired by an exhibition of work by Donna Demente in Oamaru's Forrester Gallery. I didn't want to think about her chosen place. As with many things we don't want to consciously consider, the unconscious has a way of retaining them, hence the poem."
Jenny Powell is a Dunedin poet who has written five individual collections of poetry. She has worked with other poets to produce two collaborative collections, 'Double Jointed' and 'Locating the Madonna.' Her latest collections are 'Vietnam: A Poem Journey' (HeadworX, 2010) and 'Ticket Home' (Cold Hub Press, 2012).
For more Tuesday Poems, visit the hub site to check out the main post for the week, and to visit other Tuesday Poets linked in the sidebar.