27 May 2013

Tuesday Poem: 'The Nail' by Therese Lloyd

The Nail

Where I am—generic architecture
like a barn or a bach but
neither of those things
Feral fennel clots the air with ammonia
and the usual marks are everywhere—
burnt stumps and discarded branches
their currency clattering at the night-window

I've made a list of things I will steal:
a Crown Lynn cup and saucer
an ashtray printed with Foxton: the Foxy Town
and a remote control like the one I lost—
but I won't, I will leave this place
cleaner than when I arrived

If I could get things right on a small scale
if I could lay the right things
at the feet of the wooden women
who circle the ladder to heaven
Or reign Foveaux's rusty breath
to skirt these hingeless doors
But my vision is split like a horse's
and my pockets hurt from the fists
I've shoved in them

Round back the muttonbirders are dumping the buckets
of bodies in the kitchen sink
the ovens and deep fryers gearing up a notch
We prepare ourselves by mumbling a song
taught to us this morning
half naïve native, half colonial hucksters
sung to a Beatles tune
Standing on the grass, I let a nail
pushed from rusted metal
pierce the sole of my shoe

Therese Lloyd

This poem comes from Therese Lloyd's poetry collection Other Animals, which was published earlier this year, and which I've recently finished reading.There's a fresh voice in the poems. I particularly wanted to share this poem because there are several bits in it that when I read them I had that twinge you sometimes have when you kinda wish you'd written them.

In case you're nosey to know, they are: 'I've made a list of the things I will steal:/A Crown Lynn cup and saucer/an ashtray printed with Foxton: the Foxy Town'; 'if I could lay the right things/at the feet of the wooden women/who circle the ladder to heaven' and 'my pockets hurt from the fists/I've shoved in them'.

The last of these matches nicely with the the last few lines - the actor and the acted upon are switched - the narrator 'lets' the nail pierce her shoe (and, perhaps, more gruesomely her foot); the pockets are sore, not the fists.

I'm not quite sure what's going on in this poem, but clues suggest a stay on Stewart Island/Rakiura, or possibly one of the Tītī (muttonbird) Islands. It's certainly during muttonbird season. Where ever it is, it seems like the end of the earth.

As well as Other Animals, Therese has also had a very limited edition collection of her work, Many Things Happened, published by Pania Press. She spent a year attending the Iowa Writers' Workshop after being awarded the Schaeffer scholarship, and now is back living in Paekakariki.

And there are more Tuesday Poems, for your reading pleasure, over at the hub: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.co.nz/.

No comments: