Photo: Ngataonga Sound & Vision

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

A recent, previously unpublished poem by Auckland poet Murray Edmond.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


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