Poetry for the soul
Poetry for the soul

BooksMarch 4, 2016

The Friday poem: A sequence from ‘Echo in Limbo’, by Andrew Johnston

Poetry for the soul
Poetry for the soul

New verse by Paris-based writer Andrew Johnston.



South of the past,
dreaming she was still alive,

Echo came in low, under the dateline,
over the mud flats, mirroring.

To see the plane kiss its shadow
she would have to be somewhere else

but she sees it, she sees everything
kissing everything. She was the pool,

his face bending lovely, lips
touching down.



Forests couldn’t contain her rage.
Echo chose a grove of oaks,

listened to their rustling,
hoping the gods would tell her

what to do with her anger.
If she hacked rocks and stacked them up,

she would only want to tear them down.
As when the temple foundation was laid

with trumpets, cymbals, a shout of joy
so loud no one heard the old men weeping.


Echo’s thought-boat rode
the overlapping line

of thriving and dying, its peaks of hope,
its valleys rich with failure. She wanted

to rescue the kingdom from itself,
to light its lamp and polish its wings. She

needed a little less news, a moment
of nothing, of nowhere. There was

so much meaning in her life.
She didn’t know what any of it meant.


The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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