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Ockham national book awards: New verse by poetry finalist David Eggleton

Two new poems by the amazing David Eggleton, a finalist in next week’s Ockham national book award for his noisy book of visions, The Conch Trumpet (Otago University Press).

Floral Clock

Dawn’s orange soak rinses the copper lid
that floats over Noel Lane’s kava bowl
back of the War Museum, the front’s white colonnade,
and Ferro-Concrete Company’s Grafton Gully bridge;
and Albert Park, too, where a floral clock used to grow,
where Sir George Grey was beheaded one Waitangi Day.
Great War trees are in leaf round Victoria Park,
glorious; but nearby stumps nurse amputated limbs.
Dawn bathes cartographies of Rudyard Kipling’s ark:
unlovely Three Lamps, College Hill, the Viaduct,
New World supermarket, standing where tanks
of gasworks and a grimy brick incinerator
once towered on the flat in Freeman’s Bay —
after reclamation, for all is on the move —
only slower than dawn as it hits Micky Savage’s Tomb,
and the diamond panes of Saint Mary’s Church,
drawn by Benjamin Mountford for Bishop Selwyn.
At Britomart, sun’s on water fountain, hanging garden,
on grooves left by saw-teeth down wine bar beams.
Sun’s on the Ferry Building’s disembarkations,
on the wharf-posts, seagulls, off-loaded boats,
straddle-carriers, laden trays of trucks.
Sun’s on Ellerslie Racecourse and Newmarket Flyover;
glances along discharge pipes near New Lynn.
Gongs of empty waste-bins vibrate at noon;
solar panels from roof-tops flare with sun;
Waikumete angels contemplate headstones;
shadows lengthen like sun-dials marking time.

Planet Blast

No poppies blow, they faded long ago,
in potter’s field with paupers, job-seekers,
kicked to the curb by bigcorp motorcades.
Brands grow strands of web that loop the planet.
Tiny spider-peeps make raids with tiny lasers:
crap terraforming, global bad positioning.
They uplift the love of wintermute and feed it
to a novabomb that irradiates the quantum:
our big dumb object beamed from outer space,
each sarcophagus built by a civilisation gone.
So we cling to a death-star collapsium,
our heartbeats those of bug-eyed monsters.
An earthling’s cooee echoes under ruptured crust.
We live for earth’s breath, like the wind, the dust.


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