Writing in Whangarei

Posts tagged “Poetry

The archaeology of wind

The archaeology of wind

Is a moment in the shape of a cloud

A style of humidity

An inflexion of temperature

The invisible colour of blue

And vectors that flower from crystals

Troupes of wings

Tissues on fine ribs

Algebras of curves

The geometries of curvature

Vibrations of laminar flows

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Strange Kingdom

by Aaron Robertson

Newly-spent cicada skins
race to some uncertain end,
microscopically speeding ahead
heedless of their basic loss.

Metamorphosis past, these
nymphal instars have long since
ejected into winged existence, cast
amongst a maze of supple leaves.

Summer has come, coalesced,
and must suddenly go for those
whose evanescence seems unfit
to remake a species so persistant.

Desperate noise now envelops this
canopy, sibilant with the syncopated
buckling of abdominal membranes meant
for a thousand sympathetic sides.


Salvator Rosa’s Philosophy

by Aaron Robertson

Ah, Signor, what a curious facade
your palette paints, in sombre tones exhumed
from deep within Vesuvius’ shade.

Your chiaroscuro brow, although esteemed
by melancholy eyes, sits ill at ease
with dictums as austere as you have framed.

Such words should be a maxim for our days,
not hidden behind glass while others tell
us everything, yet nothing that is wise.

Forget the flattery of marble halls
that keep you safe for their proper delight,
but fear to put your charms on open trial.

To fill the void, I’d promise you the street
in which to give your principles full reign;
your cherished silence made a perfect state.


Marilyn does not Travel in the Back Seat of a Car

by Martin Porter

Dallas, Nov 22nd, 1963.

What fun it was,
what heart wrenching fun.

To be in the car
with all that excited noise,

cheering, the crowd straining
for a glimpse,

she loved the adulation,
even second hand.

Then all of a sudden, high drama.
How she adored those situations,
the melodrama, the ambition,

it was never real,
it was all acting,
wasn’t it?

She would never cradle his head
in her lap, as the car sped away.

She would have her place,
usurped by the other woman,
she would have her vengeance.

Of course she never fired a shot
(then again, nor did he)

but she was there, she was there
and, as sure as hell, you could feel her

straining to reach out to him,
to pluck him from her arms,

knowing that she had won,
knowing that they were in the same place.

© Martin Porter 2010


Kotare

Hooded watchman mocking my late arrival,
Statuesque, you play the apparent mute, sat
Fast on pagan stoas of post and wire frame
Wrapped in the half-light.

Tell me, how has history left you less than
Sacred, Grecian pedigree overlooked for
Crueller lines, your plumage unfit to join the
Caucus of chief’s cloaks?

Do the favoured, sensing the zeitgeist, choose a
Hand through which to parley, or is the muse’s
Song an echo, haunting a young Narcissus
Flush with his own voice?

That your mortal beauty is witnessed by this
Cynic’s eye is likely no consolation
For seductive fantasies fixed like pylons
Flaunting a king’s might.

-Aaron Robertson


inside the museum

by Vaughan Gunson

at one of end of the room a grinning idiot,
at the other a dying man, trying to hold
himself to the wall, his struggle alone.
a slave brings in a bowl of red wine

which she pours into each of our cups.
on the ceiling an aristocratic dandy
lifts an arm towards God, the angels recoil
& the artist says how much he knows.

the revolution of reason is talked about,
Socrates says it comes, reaching for his cup.
someone has spilt yellow paint on the floor;
outside, people cross a bridge in the rain.

a woman in agony holds her dead child,
a picture of terror that won’t go away.
not even when you see the joker, standing
with his legs apart in multicolored tights.

in walks the leader, smoking a pipe
& wearing a full length silk gown.
he takes a look at the poster on the wall
& says he doesn’t understand why

some armies must be defeated, wars won.
he doesn’t notice the bags of coal above his head,
or the black dust on his shoulders & in his hair.
he ambles over to the pious monks

sitting in deckchairs, contemplating their own.
they don’t hear the noise of soup cans
being stacked up high on the shelves, or
the tower being built, only to fall down

on its shadow—or the bulldozers being used
to make something that will last.
beside the spilt paint a sign has finally
been placed which says “WET PAINT”

& through a window in the prison wall
children fly their kites up into the sky.


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.