a wayfaring stranger who climbs
a steep village street
an old embroidress who’s lost her needle––
stranger stoops to help her look
but soon gives up–– lo siento
needle nowhere to be seen
wizened stub of a woman opposite
watches squatting on her doorstep––
está loca she informs the stranger––
the embroidress is nuts
she’s got no needle
a few doors up a younger woman points
at woman two–– take no notice of her
she advises–– está sorda
she’s stone deaf doesn’t hear
a word you say
all this–– perhaps a comedy routinely played
to confuse the wayfaring stranger
who threads his way
up the narrow street
inclined to doubt
wanting to believe
in the existence of the needle
Roger Hickin has worked as a visual artist and exhibited regularly throughout
New Zealand since 1985. Although he has written poetry since the 1960s, his main preoccupation was with sculpture & painting until the early 2000s when poetry began to demand more serious attention. A poem about a moribund rooster is still recalled by some who heard it at a reading in the public bar of the City Hotel, Dunedin, in 1983.
Two collections of Hickin’s poetry, Waiting for the Transport and The Situation & other poems, appeared in 2009. His Cold Hub Press publishes poetry by New Zealand & international writers. He lives in Governors Bay on Lyttelton Harbour.
Thanks to Roger for permission to use this poem which appears on the Phantom Billstickers' poetry posters. I took a stroll up to a nearby main road on National Poetry Day to have a look at the posters there and spotted this one. It's a strange place to post them as there is not much foot traffic, mainly cars and heavy trucks thundering by on their way through to the port at Lyttelton. I thought it was an appropriate day to give the posters a bit of attention.
For more Tuesday Poems visit the main hub site - check out this week's post, and the poets in the sidebar.