Words for Christchurch: David Howard

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.


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
you become
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.

2 thoughts on “Words for Christchurch: David Howard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s