365 x 30

Lying on a bed with you
for at least
the ten thousandth time
I remember the dream
I had last night.

You and I and the young woman
you are going to marry
are in a shop
choosing a jacket for you
to wear at the wedding.
She chooses an absurd one
with taffeta panels on the front
and full gathered sleeves.
I see that your old one
the one you are wearing
is plain and smart. It suits you.

In the dream I do not speak
or act — I am there
as your friend, being reasonable
about the marriage —
but there is a distinct
holding in my shoulders
as if our days together
are taking a shape
that I am about to reach out
and raise
above all else

a double-handled jar
in which water turns to wine.

for Bill

Dinah Hawken was born in Hawera, a small New Zealand rural town, in 1943. She has lived in Wellington for over 30 years, interspersed with three periods in the United States, two in New York City. For 20 years she worked as a student counsellor at Victoria University. Her four books of poetry, published by Victoria University Press, are It Has No Sound and is Blue, which won the 1987 Commonwealth Poetry Prize for “Best First Time Published Poet”, Small Stories of Devotion (1991), Water, Leaves, Stones (1995) and Oh There You Are Tui!: New and Selected Poems (2001).

Of “365 X 30”, she writes: “It amused me to have this dream at the time of our 30th wedding anniversary. As you can see and hear, the poem is a very straightforward description of the dream up to the last two lines. The image in the second-to-last line was in my mind for months after I had had the dream and written the rest of the poem, but for some curious reason, which often happens, I wouldn’t take it seriously. Then I realised, suddenly, that this spontaneous and concrete image was what Id been looking for all along. Thirty years along.”

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New Zealand Book Council writer file