Writing in Whangarei

to American poets of the 1940s & their parties

by Vaughan Gunson

tired birds tweet, up the back
of a gorse covered hill,
not from a window ledge, London.

everything here tied up
in the air of all the familiar chaos
that ends the day.

I’m listening to Maria Callas,
reading a story of poets
when they were young, dangerous

with a glass of Laphroaig,
a smoky peatiness on the tongue
for boasting, for entertaining guests

who know how to talk
about Auden, Elliot & Proust,
Yeats, Thomas & MacLeish

who won’t mention the war
at 3am, but into another round
of Shakespeare, then Donne.

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