Monday, November 16, 2015

Tuesday Poem: Memories of Long Grass, by Carolyn McCurdie

Memories of long grass
for Lesley and Steve

We were quick to claim this ground
relinquished by thick-tongued cows
not yet chomped by bulldozers;
on long swooping slopes and gullies
the seeding grasses nodded, waited just for us.

Disdainful, we pushed aside
stalks swaddled by the nursery web spider
ready for her teeming young;
we trampled tracks where no one
walked but skinks, mice, a cat.
Tiger tracks.

The huts we made were dreams of huts, made more
of air than granny-knotted grass that broke
and slipped. Inside the open walls, we sat
and watched the sun stripe our arms and legs.

We rolled the grass flat to make circles
the radius of our bodies. Then our eyes probed eternity
finding it blue, and beyond that, blue
and beyond that…

The grass held us cupped; the sky bent down
and sipped us up.

copyright Carolyn McCurdie
used with permission

I have been enjoying a number of poetry books lately put out by Makaro Press, the imprint started by the indefatigable Mary McCallum, who is also the instigator of Tuesday Poem. Among them was Carolyn McCurdie's first collection, Bones in the Octagon. My first instinct was to ask her if I could post January Begins as my Tuesday Poem (although it is slightly out of season), however I found that it had already been posted online - so I chose this one, especially for its wonderful last stanza, which to me evoked the wonder of childhood, of exploring the outdoors, of summer days that seem to last forever.

Carolyn is a Dunedin writer who has worked as a teacher and librarian. Winner of the New Zealand Poetry Society’s International Poetry Competition and the Lilian Ida Smith Award, she is a long-time contributor to New Zealand’s leading poetry journals, and has published an ebook of short stories and a children’s fantasy novel. Carolyn is a member of the Octagon Poets Collective and helps to organise live poetry events in Dunedin.

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site. We are a group of New Zealand and international poets who each try to post a poem on our blogs every Tuesday.

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