Ernest Hemingway found rain to be
made of knowledge, experience
wine oil salt vinegar quince
bed early mornings nights days the sea
men women dogs hill and rich valley
the appearance and disappearance of sense
or trains on curved and straight tracks, hence
love honour and dishonour, a scent of infinity.
In my city the rain you get
is made of massive kauri trees, the call of forest birds
howling dark oceans and mangroved creeks.
I taste constancy, memory and yet
there’s the watery departure of words
from the thunder-black sand at Te Henga Beach.
First published in Crosswind (AUP, 2004).
I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Green this past weekend at NorthWrite 2012, a writers’ and illustrators’ festival in Whangarei. Paula was a guest poet who participated in the opening dinner discussion on Friday night, along with Joe Bennett, Kyle Mewburn, David Hill, Fifi Colston and Deborah Challinor, and also taught a poetry workshop on Saturday which I attended along with twenty-some other poetry enthusiasts. Along with working our way through various exercises in inspiration, we got to hear Paula say a couple of her own poems at the end. This was one of them.
I love the rhythms in this poem. Say it out loud and you’ll see why. It’s a neat, compact thing.
Paula Green is a poet, reviewer, anthologist and children’s author. She also has a doctorate in Italian literature. Paula has published seven poetry collections including several for children. She reviews poetry for the New Zealand Herald and visits schools regularly. Co-written with Harry Ricketts, her book 99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry was short-listed for the 2010 NZ Post Book Awards. She has recently edited Dear Heart: 150 New Zealand Love Poems and is a judge for the 2012 NZ Post Book Awards, has edited Best NZ Poems and judged the NZ Post Secondary School Poetry competition. Her new collection of poems, The Baker’s Thumbprint, will be published next year.
For more Tuesday Poems, go here.