Words for Christchurch on National Poetry Day

StencilIn March and April, we brought you Words for Christchurch from some wonderful New Zealand poets. Today is National Poetry Day – so take the chance to explore these poems in all their consoling, confronting poetic strength:

“When Mother Nature got one s***-kicking
surprise for you”
Words for Christchurch: Andrew Bell – That Tuesday

The age-old question
“Why?”
Words for Christchurch: Mark Pirie – Water

That’s what
he now remembers. A whole library
flying at him, to the thunder and slams
and hammers of hell.
Words for Christchurch: Kevin Ireland – A house in Christchurch

Will we leave Christchurch Cathedral’s spire as rubble or rebuild it
too as a sign, like the words: Monte Cassino, Gallipoli, Anzac, signs of what
we feel is and was our innocence abroad, …
Words for Christchurch: Jan Kemp – i.m. Victims of the Christchurch Earthquake, NZ,  22nd February 2011

we are naked in the doorway
we are shaking like leaves
we are up to our neck in it

scrabbling for a handhold calling –
Words for Christchurch: Mary McCallum – Earth

Anxiety is a hand held
trauma is hands and knees on the ground
Words for Christchurch: Emma Currie – State of Emergency

our islands have dived like dolphins below the sea time & time before: our hills are sea-carved our mountains jagged from upthrust -no steadfast footing anywhere nearby- just a sure blue light of certainty that I, as a dreamer, trust- we will continue living in these unsteady lands hoping & dying & helping & building -because we are human, because we must-
Words for Christchurch: Keri Hulme – Korure

Things go on
leaving. They go on because
they leave. A leaf falls over
itself, the very.
Words for Christchurch: David Howard – REMEMBER WE THEM WILL in memory of Rhys Brookbanks

Someone is picking a library book and someone is baking bread
Someone is making love and someone is poaching eggs
Words for Christchurch: Paula Green – February

2 thoughts on “Words for Christchurch on National Poetry Day

  1. Craig 22 July 2011 / 11:46 am

    “This Will Be Us

    This will be us, one day —
    faded photographs
    for archivists and future
    generations to pore over,
    speculating on how
    we must have felt, what
    it must have been like …
    … being lowered
    from a high building
    on ropes, or having one foot
    amputated in situ
    by a policeman to free
    the rest of the body
    from the rubble
    of a collapsed building … ”

    ~ first stanza of Helen Lowe’s Tuesday Poem, this week

    “… while we,
    like ninepins, were knocked about —
    most to pick ourselves up again,
    dust off, dig out,
    but one hundred and eighty one
    not so fortunate, fallen witness
    to the random acts of violence
    of an indifferent planet.”

    ~ last stanza of Helen Lowe’s Tuesday Poem, last week.

    “Allow me to say
    that in the midst
    of earthshaking, plus
    associated mud
    and dust both inside
    and out, as well
    as queueing
    for the portaloo —”

    ~ opening lines of Helen Lowe’s Tuesday Poem, June 28

    I hope this counts as fair use since tis but a small part of each poem, but amazing words for Canterbury, from a Canterbury poet, fitting to celebrate today.

    • Donna 22 July 2011 / 11:48 am

      Thanks for posting these, Craig, really powerful and moving words from Helen.

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