Monday, May 26, 2014

Tuesday Poem: I Have Sent a Package, by James Norcliffe

I Have Sent a Package

I have sent a package to summer
stamped with rime and franked with frost.

Inside are valleys and beaches,
the arc of their longing licked by cold waters.

There is music too: the percussion
of surf and of rocks falling from a mountain.

Open it carefully - say, when a warm
wind billows your northern curtains,

ruffles, perhaps, the light in your hair -
then warily unwrap these gifts.

If the ash tree just beyond were with you,
it would be a dance of yellow leaves

not this crown of spikiness where
blackbirds crouch, shrinking into their feathers.

I have been sending such parcels
all the days of my vanity, imagining

your curiosity, your juggling the weight,
your fingers working at the string.

This is one more. A package to summer
from one distant season to another.

- James Norcliffe

James Norcliffe was born in Greymouth, and lives in Church Bay (Banks Peninsula). Other than a period spent teaching English in China and Brunei, he has lived in Canterbury for his whole adult life. He has published award winning fiction, short fiction, and fantasy novels (young adult and adult), as well as six collections of poetry. He was Burns Fellow in 2000, and in 2003 was given the Christchurch Press Literary Liaisons Honour Award for his lasting contribution to literature in the South Island.

"I Have Sent a Package" is taken from his 2012 collection Shadow Play, which was a finalist for the 2011 Proverse Prize and is published by Proverse Hong Kong.

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site for this week's post, and check out the additional participating blogs linked in the sidebar.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Summer Stars, by Carl Sandburg

Summer Stars

Bend low again, night of summer stars.
So near you are, sky of summer stars,
So near, a long-arm man can pick off stars,
Pick off what he wants in the sky bowl,
So near you are, summer stars,
So near, strumming, strumming,
So lazy and hum-strumming.

-Carl Sandburg, 1878 - 1967

The other weekend a trip to the Mt John observatory near Lake Tekapo reminded me of this poem. White it is autumn, rather than summer, it was stunning to see, on a clear night, how the sky looks away from the city.

In New Zealand - unlike in some parts of the world - we can still see stars in the cities, but with far from the intensity visible away from the pollution of city lights. When American poet Carl Sandburg wrote this poem in 1920, light pollution must have been far less of a problem than it is now, and the summer stars would indeed have appeared so near they could be picked from the "sky bowl".

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site, where this week's poem is by Irish poet Sean Lysaght. Many other Tuesday poems can be visited by clicking the links in the sidebar there.

Friday, May 09, 2014

The Big Poetry Giveaway Winners

I have drawn the winners and sent the books on their way. The sorting hat aka Random Number Generator has spoken and books are in the post to:
Clarissa Aykroyd, Lissa Clouser, Katrina Roberts and Kimberley McGill. (You may need to allow a couple of weeks or so for them to arrive as they have to circle the globe to reach you).

Thanks to everyone for entering, and for those who didn't win anything here, I hope you had better luck on another blog. If not, do try again next year.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Tuesday Poem: The fall of silence, by Sue Fitchett

The fall of silence

today the silence makes me listen
my pulse ticks

someone reminds me it’s the ninth day
of the ninth month of the ninth year

kowhai buds come out a month early
kereru plunder them

unopened buds pop pop
onto the deck

five kereru perch on a wattle
side by side back to back mute as always

I reach for the phone to call you
never seen so many together

at one time on one tree

my finger stays still

they sit I sit
in this eye of silence

a memory comes uninvited
my mother passes tea cups to

visitors who watch the view
our bay’s natural sound shell


the shaking starts
bone china in my mother’s hand

rattles like knucklebones
momentarily caught in a fist

© sue fitchett

Waiheke Island poet Sue fitchett has a new collection of poems, "On the Wing" published by Steele Roberts. It will be launched by Sandra Lee at the Waiheke Library, 2 Korora Road from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm on Saturday 10 May. The above poem is taken from the collection.

Sue says "The collection explores on many levels the relationship between humans and birds, both good and bad; exploring presence and absence, falling and rising, hellos and goodbyes, taking off,, flying and landing and has subtext about women and birds plus 'conversations' with the images, ideas and writing of the English author of The Peregrine JA Baker."

Each week a new poem is posted at the Tuesday Poem main hub site. Up to thirty bloggers also post Tuesday Poems on their own blogs, and links to these blogs appear in the sidebar of the hub site. I highly recommend making time to visit some of these for a wide selection of poems, both from participants' own work and other poets.