Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday Poem: Three Days in a Wishing Well, by Kerrin P Sharpe

three days in a wishing well

at the bottom
of the well
lined with porteous
yellow blue art tiles

ceramic hands hold
moon drop coins
arranged as feathers
on a hunter's shirt

and a city care
man with hose and
bucket is separating
wishes from water

the research is called
three days in a wishing
now the council knows
the thoughts of the boy

rowing nowhere the
woman carrying shortbread
as live
even the washing

instructions for this poem

- Kerrin P Sharpe


Recently the Christchurch Writers Festival returned after an absence of four years due to earthquakes. One of the events I was happy to attend was the launch of Kerrin P Sharpe's new book Three Days in a Wishing Well. The poem I have selected here is the title poem.

Kerrin's poems are delightful, full of beautiful images but ultimately somewhat mysterious, so that I always want to come back to reread them. I believe that fellow Tuesday Poet Helen Lowe will be featuring another poem from the book shortly. And the Victoria University Press website also has an extract in their "recent news"

Kerrin P Sharpe was born in Wellington but now lives in Christchurch. She is currently Writer-in-Residence at St Andrews College and teaches creative writing at the Hagley Writers' Institute. She completed the Victoria University Original Composition programme taught by Bill Manhire in 1976 and has recently returned to writing as her family have grown up and left home. Kerrin's poems have appeared in many journals, and in Best New Zealand Poems 08, 09 and 10. In 2008 she was awarded the New Zealand Post Creative Writing Teacher's Award from the Institute of Modern Letters.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Tuesday Poem: Slant


Tell all the truth but tell it slant – Emily Dickinson

Beneath the jagged mountains
crossed cranes at dawn
frame the city skyline
buildings propped and braced
with beams and girders
all diagonals
the twisted bridge
the fallen staircase

in the house the sun slants
onto unlevel floorboards
portraits askew on the walls
smile their cockeyed smiles
after each aftershock
crack in the plaster
zigzags across the ceiling

it started in spring
last month you stood in the hallway
snowflakes, blown in
through the gap in the wonky doorway
settled on your shoulders

now across the yard
a spiderweb carried on the wind
one end anchored to the broken spouting
the other angled across the sky
like a kite string
festooned with pink petals


Today is the second anniversary of the 2010 September 4th earthquake. Hard to believe it has been two years already. The poem above is more about the aftermath of the February 22nd quake six months later. It was written last year about this time, but much in it hasn't really changed. The cranes are still there - more of them, in fact, taking buildings down rather than putting new buildings up. At least we have straightened the pictures! It seemed an appropriate moment to let it out into the world.

For more Tuesday Poems visit the main hub site.