Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Polonius: Old Poet by Harry Ricketts

This week I am the guest editor for the Tuesday Poem and have chosen a poem by Harry Ricketts, Polonius: Old Poet.  Head over to the Tuesday Poem hub where you will find a poem by a poet about a poet who likened himself to a Shakespearean character! Check out the other Tuesday Poets at the same time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Poem: In the nation’s bookshop chains

First, forced relocations
lower lodgings in some
draughty cul-de-sac
less room, less light.

All the while
unexplained disappearances
James K, Hone, Ruth, others
gone, gone and not replaced.

Those left behind, thin-spined
less popular, lean on each other
take bets on who will be
the last one standing.

Finally, denial of identity
removal of signs
pointing to pleasure troves
proclaiming different-ness.

Survivors now suffer
mass assimilation and burial
in short stories, non-fiction
literature, or classics.

Poetry? Nah mate
don’t stock it any more
waste of bloody space
nobody buys the stuff.

I wrote this poem some years ago after observing the gradual decrease in poetry titles carried by the major bookshops. If anything, it seems to be getting worse.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Name-calling

Sam wrote it is wise to remember
the Gods by their names
that we dare not answer back
to one like you,
Ruamoko, Earthquake God
unborn son of Mother Earth.
But I do, oh how I do –
each time you writhe
in your Mother’s womb
each time you liquefact her waters
each time she throws rocks at me
I rail, rant, call your siblings bastards –
what’s-their-names, the Gods
of mayhem, destruction, and death.

Credit note; Sam Hunt wrote a poem titled 'Naming the Gods' some years ago in response to an earthquake he experienced in south Taranaki. My poem is a response to the numerous Canterbury aftershocks I have experienced over the last 14 months.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday Poem: The Stations of the Bucket Man


One Monday, Mr Jones walked out
of his Tinakori Hill campsite
with his birth certificate
bank statement and will
knelt in the gutter
at the intersection
of Grant and Park Streets
and died.


He was an urban Man Alone
before he went bush in the city.
His mother said his downfall
was his (bleeding) sensitivity.


The artist who painted him
with a halo and cross
was asking us to reflect
on what we would say
if we met on the street.


He stopped daily
at the Golden Arches
buying coffee and a bite to eat
in lieu of loaves and fishes.


The stockbroker’s assistant
nearly threw him out
of the counting-house
seeing he was not a Pharisee.


From his portrait
he looks over the shoulder
of the businessman
who wanted to buy his burial.
Who does he think he is?


One Christmas
there was room for him at the table
but he declined
stopping instead on the porch
to chat about the garden.


When he gave Wellington’s poor
money and clothes given him
they were, for a while
rich beyond relief.


In church he placed in the plate
twenty dollars just given him
then said to his benefactor
two would do.


One cold night
not long before he left us
he rested in a bus shelter
and told a passing Samaritan
he was alright
and thank you for asking.


At his funeral it was said
how useful a bucket was
living on the street –
for washing at the public fountain
for carrying things in
for using as a hat
when God wept on you.


Blessed are Wellington’s homeless
for they shall inherit the earth
on Tinakori Hill.

Credit note: 'The Stations of the Bucket Man appears in my debut collection Tongues of Ash. It was first published in JAAM 26.

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