20 March 2012

Tuesday poem: '6 The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'

While this image shows the very attractive cover of this new anthology of New Zealand love poetry, edited by Paula Green, it actually doesn't really do it justice. I had wanted to take some photos of the substantial hardcover book, with its thick creamy paper, gorgeous binding, place-marker ribbon, colour images - and possibly I will sometime later - but I haven't managed to today. I'm so proud and honoured to have a poem in this volume, which arrived by courier late last week. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but flipping through the pages I see poems by many of my favourite poets, living and dead. Makes me gushy.

Anyway, here's my poem, which is part of a longer poem sequence ('Nine movies') - the whole thing really is a long love poem.

6  The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I’m pretty sure I know now
what love tastes like
and it takes something so
to balance the sweet sharp salt
the corners of your tongue
to wash away the sticky syrup
that gets on my hands
and makes it hard to think

Running through the passages, tunnels of us
all made of books, stacked floor-
to-ceiling, and if they should topple
we’d be trapped beneath Brontës and Eliots
Dostoyevoskys, Tolstoys
Atwoods and Couplands and Greenes
Living in constant danger of being crushed
by the weight of Western literature
is just one of the risks we take

I know there are rooms inside of me
that you’ve never been to
You’ve whole basements
you’ve locked yourself out

Check out more Tuesday poems here: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.co.nz/


Janis said...

I love this one. And I'm really looking forward to reading the anthology - sounds great!

Elizabeth Welsh said...

Being trapped in amongst those writers wouldn't be such a bad thing, would it? :) You must feel very honoured, Helen - it's a beautiful book with some wonderful NZ poets.

Emma said...

I look forward to reading it! So lovely that your poem is in there.

Ben Hur said...

Congratulations. Great poem too.

Mary McCallum said...

I commented, but it got lost. Like this one, Helen. Rich and sticky and strong. A good love poem.

Michelle Elvy said...

Really love this poem. Killer last stanza. Will remember that one, esp the way the room reference follows from the middle stanza.

Helen Rickerby said...

Thanks so much everyone. It really is a gorgeous book, with so many wonderful poems. I hope you'll check it out.

Harvey Molloy said...

I'm looking forward to reading the anthology. I like the way the poem also references the movie. Love poems are so difficult and this one works.