Title: Sport 40: 2012

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2014, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 40: 2012

Elizabeth Nannestad

page 32

Elizabeth Nannestad

The Gold Day Has Dimmed

The gold day
has dimmed.

All that happened was the sun
went behind a cloud—
fiery was the green
among the leaves

trunks, stems
filled themselves, rose, wanting to multiply

all living things
and the earth too, the stones

were stirred
with desire.

Wherever there was water
there was light and life

and the air: well!—
you could swim in it.

The sun went behind a cloud
and all that is over now.

page 33


There were butterflies in among the lavender—
how long they had been there I have no idea
so many times I lifted my eyes towards them
thinking of other things,
and never thought: butterflies.
It was three days ago now finally I saw them
and today there is only the bright flinty sunlight
it’s colder, the lavender is plainer: they’re gone.

And now I think they must have been there all summer
the crowd of them, and every one in a pair
not allowing themselves to be scattered or blown
they stayed, going nowhere but here
half dropping, weakly beating, a simple host
who found our lavender their place of pleasure
drinking in the sun, the nectar, and each other.

page 34

Be Not Afraid of the Dark

Here we are at the beginning
once again in the river’s mouth

all doing the slow-waking walking dance
with our eyes open wider than wide.

Everywhere the dark is, there is its heart.
We’re awake—awake in the dark

where we hush, and may touch
and only gently move apart.

All About Spring Green

It rises and it rises—
where there were branches
showing how things might be
now there are places to live—

and a girl in an airy dress
who woke only a little while ago
finds the whole world is a kiss
and steps into it.

page 35

House Abandoned

It was a wind that started
as a small disturbance off the coast
that finally took the place apart.
We’d seen it, a cat’s-paw on the water
and said, ‘Wouldn’t want to be out in that.’

We lived, but all the time felt it coming. There were flowers on the table.
The beds were warm.
We had plenty of firewood in the winter
and in summer opened all the windows and doors.
Still it came and to no one’s surprise whisked away what we’d called home. Surely we should be
packed and gone off to another life, not still be here standing and staring so stupidly.

page 36

Why you should not stick to writing about what you know

The heart
a begging bowl
by longing
by two hands

the world,
is filled
a handful
of this or that,
for some

reason unknown
is most

page 37

Poet Hard at Work

Down the road there’s an orchard no one
cares for much, although
someone once left a ladder out
and a few prunings still lie there, tumbled about.

That’s where I stop when I go off on the bike.
I peer through to see what
among the trees degged with lichen
might be happening. And there it is—

the first blossom, a plum.
This needs a patch of blue behind it
and all I’ve got for now is grey
so I watch, and while I do

a line of cars passes.
Away they go to the last one
leaving behind something which grows and becomes
silence—and a cry: a lamb!

Chips of gravel lie this way and that
the way tyres flung them
into the weeds all reaching and shining and showing
every one of them a someone

and here am I—
not anyone or anywhere
among small stones and grass
waiting for a cloud to pass.