The Friday Poem: ‘Dampening’ by Zora Patrick

We conclude our week-long series on New Zealand poetry with the winning poem of the 2017 national schools poetry award: ‘Dampening’, by Wellington High School Year 12 student Zora Patrick.




Playing dead in the

seeming shallows

a man floats face down

estranged from the

crying children


bikini grandmas.


He looks at seaweed

through his snorkel mask,

lacy fronds

reaching up

to hold him in their midst.



he plunges his head

into the water

feet sticking up like a frog’s


straight out into the air for everyone to see.

As his feet sink, his trunks

and the small of his back


“I’m still here,”

they say.

Zora Patrick will be reading her work alongside other poets at the launch of the latest issue of online journal Starling today at 10.45am at Vic Books on the campus of Victoria University in Wellington.

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