In the second contribution from writers around the country in our Words for Christchurch series, Dunedin poet and founder of literary magazine Takahe David Howard writes an elegy to Rhys Brookbanks, who died in the CTV building collapse. The piece was originally published as All about it on Bookman Beattie’s blog. This version, David says, has been revised to incorporate some of Rhys’s own poetry, in particular The Glorious Dead.
REMEMBER WE THEM WILL
in memory of Rhys Brookbanks
Things go on
leaving. They go on because
they leave. A leaf falls over
itself, the very.
Beyond what is
said to what is, the impossible.
And you curtsy,
The wind doubles
back. It carries the scent of sex
to the tree’s knot, where
you expected initials.
When the dead are, then
wood the superstitious knock on, wanting
inside. Igneous self
nothing to the imagination stone doesn’t have.
The wind doubles up and
under: a noun with attitude,
sharp as a mother-in-law
studying the sheets.
Your picture is always in my head
which is in my hands.
(We need uninterrupted coverage)
At 12.51 the wild yonder
bruises. A lottery vendor, God
(We need half-time comments, cheer leaders and hotdogs on a stick)
crosses the square, where you
wait. The ghost of Godley
(We need widescreen TV, surround sound and optional extras)
watches from the fur of a cat,
the feather of a bird, hears the word
(We need censor’s approval)
Extra! on the lips of a newsboy.
- Read more about David Howard on the New Zealand Book Council website
- Download Rhys Brookbanks’ The Lighthouse Man, as it appeared in Deep South 2007 [21kb .PDF]
- Read the entry about Rhys Brookbanks on the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa blog