Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Tuesday Poem: Check out 'A Letter to Jim Harrison' from NZ poet Lindsay Pope

What with having to upgrade my computer to Windows 10 (I am reasonably unscathed!) and the demands of the Work In Progress, an encounter with a couple of thugs and the Police (all sub judice so can't comment) and a hospital encounter for someone close to me (he's out now), poetry, blogs and most other things have been pushed to the margins. But this week's poem on the Tuesday Poem website is too good not to share a link.  I love its laconic, understated, easy surface - like a quiet pool that conceals hidden currents and depths.  It's by Lindsay Pope, a leading NZ poet, and called 'A Letter to Jim Harrison', who is a US poet of note. A conversation between two poets on very different continents.

It may be of no surprise to you that the day
your book arrived the waxeyes at my feeder
were noisier, more nervous and more abundant
than usual. On the global face, I live on the
lower cheek of the world where the tears fall
and turn to ice. So you might not know these
little birds. They may have hitched a ride on
some seafaring boat and decided to stay. Or
perhaps they caught the tail of some cross-
Tasman wind.

Your book flew in and has roosted in my head.
I have lost contact with my former Anglican
god and pray several hours most days in my
garden.

The plants are forgiving and do not object too
much to the muck I spread around, or
even when I rest to blow cigarette smoke about
their ears. The best time to talk with them is
when the light changes in the evening. The
warm soil seems to reassure as the chill of night
begins to settle on their leaves.

This land has no snakes, which makes us a
nation fearful of them. I am learning to live
with my own.

Thanks for your poems. I like digging into their
soil. It is like harvesting new potatoes. Each
time you unearth a shaw you do not know
what the reward will be.

As I write, the waxeyes are drinking. The wind
has turned to the south, so I’ll head down the
garden path to pick a supper of beans.

©  Lindsay Pope



The poem is posted by this week's editor, Mary McCallum and she has some really interesting things to say about it - and about the poet.  To read the whole poem and her comments please follow this link. 

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