Title: Sport 43: 2015

Editor: Fergus Barrowman

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2015, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 43: 2015

Ruth Upperton

page 168

Ruth Upperton

The lonely crow

The river knows what the lonely crow did
when the others left in the noonday sun.
What crying happens under rapids,
what happens when the running’s done?

What’s with the bees that rise around us
like a city’s elevators?
Why can’t we all be cute and famous,
and set upon by demonstrators?

What could be hotter than a rocker
dancing high in hard-won glasses?
Why is the gardener so macabre
about his taxidermy classes?

Nothing sadder than a lonely river.
Nothing darker than a single crow.
Shiver at the strong’s surrender.
Play a tune on your June piano.

page 169

Two thieves

for Dad

Mushroom clouds are what we pick mushrooms under.
It’s not stealing if it’s between lightning and thunder.
The rain starts its hill to seaside sidle.
There’s time still for a minute’s plunder.

The sea is a storm. The sky is tidal.
The gutters hold familiar idols.
The day is closing up on us.
Our bag is full. We’ve not been idle.

You’ve forgotten where your haunted house is.
I don’t know the words to ‘I am the Walrus’.
You don’t know when my train is leaving.
I don’t know which is the edible fungus.

We like mushrooms best when they taste of thieving.
At home we turn the Beatles up to eleven.
This bag of mushrooms was not a given.
We don’t like Kevin but we both like ‘Kevin’.

page 170

The lantern light

The cannon room. The soft delight.
The rattling fight. The mud platoon.
The fighting fit. The parlour’s floor.
The blind allure. The iron bit.
The head device. The black carol.
The blank mural. The not advice.
The mighty fall. The good to go.
The aching slow. The dead appall.

The arc of snow. The dead applaud.
The nightly forward. The goodbye go.
The black morale. The noted vice.
The leaden lice. The tracked corral.
The binding law. The lying wit.
The crying quick. The poorest drawer.
The rat in flight. The bloody moon.
The crayon gloom. The lantern light.

page 171


Last year’s trees are dropping.
They drop like sticky fruit.
They drop as the flies rise.
Last year I woke up differently.
This year is the same old mess.

The dead see different centuries
like I see fruit on a tree,
like I see land from the sea.
The ocean climbs the mast.
The deck is covered in salt.

I want to go to Atlas, which is not Atlantis.
I want to give this continent a map.
There is never not something
that doubles back. I am inverting.
I am inventing a new way to act.

page 172

And the cows they are all orphans

And the picture was a present
And the shore had not been broken
And the cows are not our orphans

And the photo hadn’t snapped yet
And I hadn’t seen the body
And there wasn’t time regardless

And the picture wasn’t present
And the cows they trumped the living
And the silence well it’s restful

And the pitcher wasn’t breaking
And the living cows weren’t moving
And the picture caught the paddocks

And the sun’s come up real stellar
And the dark well it’s a comfort
And the time regards us passing

And the crops how are they doing
And the most I’ll miss is you love
And the pitching sea’s a killer

And the midnight moonlight river
And the breaking call of cameras
And the picture snaps our colour
And there’s not a breath among us