Title: Sport 40: 2012

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2014, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 40: 2012

Bernadette Hall

page 380

Bernadette Hall

The Book

And now, dear reader, we’re all here, including the handsome boy with the scar on his cheek who’s looking over the translation. His bold eyes, the way he looks back at his friends, see I’ve got as far as this and she with her face turned down to the book, the blood rising in her cheeks, in her neck, silent and still inside her strange heat.

As if the stories precede the reality, as if she’s getting ready.

Maybe she’ll shift to the old house in the city, to the big cool room with the Indian cloth at the foot of the bed, the spidery scrolls, the curves and leaping lines and buds and small insects. Maybe she’ll disappear the same way Sylvie disappeared for a year, so hampered was she by all those boys. Made heavy where she should be light, made solid where she should be translucent, made dumb where she should be singing, made a liar.

For the mouth of the book is no more than the mouth of the maker, its bitterness is her bitterness, its cowardice is her cowardice, its love of the crumbling damp earth is her love, and of the little red thorns that prick up their ears on the rose stems. And there she goes again, making a big deal of everything.

page 381

Just a moment, please

There are so many angels,
their wings stiffly hinged, their hands joined like steeples.
There are so many apples
but only one is a great big fat gorgeous Peasgood Nonsuch.
Put it on the white plate with the thin gold trim.
Put the plate on the white iron table,
the little round table that sits under the quince tree.
We don’t need the pucker and slip of a tablecloth.
We don’t need feathery explosions of lanyards. But we may
need the angels (their long white nighties stirring in the aisles of the cella).
And we definitely need the apple.
‘I yearn to be transformed,’ says Rafe, ‘by something more than sex.’

Passion Fruit

so one day
it will come down to this

a gold and purple kiss
the rich eggy perfume
of a tropical workshop

liana and lilies and bright green frogs
a crisscross of unfamiliar bird prints

page 382

The View from the Lookout

for Denis O’Connor

there are two islands
anchored out there in the middle of the harbour
a large one and a smaller one    a father

and a daughter maybe    and there are a couple
of clouds   they hang around for a bit and then they start
to drift off to the left    towards the redoubt

there are waves that flow towards the coolness
of the bush   where the black skirts of mamaku
tick like the clicky ‘beetles’
we used to play with when we were kids
pumping our thumbs up and down on the dimpled tin

which is all part of a long slow plunge into memory
—as the sky falls down in cascades into the sea
and birds fling up and drift
away way out over the beautiful blue (fatal) inshore ponding