Photo: Ngataonga Sound & Vision
Photo: Ngataonga Sound & Vision

BooksMarch 7, 2020

The Saturday Poem: I Loan Jeanette Fitzsimons my Pen on the Plane by Murray Edmond

 Photo: Ngataonga Sound & Vision
Photo: Ngataonga Sound & Vision

A recent, previously unpublished poem by Auckland poet Murray Edmond.


I Loan Jeanette Fitzsimons my Pen on the Plane


She has important stuff to prepare.

I’m just reading Balzac.

A silly story about

falling in love:

a man hides in a woman’s bedroom

so he can watch her undress.

It’s definitely getting worse

out there

in the environment

and we’re flying in an aeroplane

for chrissake.

I want to say, “What are we doing,


but I go back to Balzac

drape myself in his wild ass’s skin

where one of the characters says about another character

“She’s more than a woman, she’s a novel” –

you get the idea.

Jeanette used to be Leader of the Green Party.

I’m a Green voter.

She starts to rummage in her bag

says to her husband she had two pens

when she set out this morning.

I realise I have two pens

I can contribute to the cause.


I say

“use this.”

She takes the pen.

“Silly working on a plane”

she says

“better to read a novel.”

I wave my hand

in the air to indicate

something vague about choices

but I can see she

doesn’t get it

my gesture is too wobbly

to fight a cause one has to be quicker


more decisive.

Back to Balzac.

Jeanette plunges into the

briefing papers.

Out of the corner

of my eye

I can see my pen

doing its work

for the cause.


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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