At the cloverleaf
of dark and light
I comb the crossing
Shadow consuming the light
the light making a meal of the dark.
The adolescent men
standing there as though the road will deliver
to drag them away.
The adolescent men
left undone in the space
between city and fallow paddock.
Paula Green lives in West Auckland with artist, Michael Hight, and their two daughters. She is currently completing a doctoral thesis in the Italian Department at the University of Auckland. Her thesis, that considers the process of writing in the novels of two contemporary Italian women, takes both a poetic and an academic form. Her work has appeared in a range of New Zealand and overseas literary journals including Landfall, Trout, JAAM, Poetry NZ, and Poetry International. Auckland University Press has published two volumes of her poetry, the more recent of which is Chrome(2000). She founded a series of poetry events in Auckland in the nineties known as ‘The Alba Readings.’ In 2002 she gave a poetry workshop for the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival ‘Winter Writing Workshops.’
Green comments: ‘I love writing poems that can exist alone but are part of larger works with specific themes and rules. “Intersection” is from an ongoing sequence that I am working on entitled “Lounge Suite.” The rule is that I use an artwork, one that I have just seen or one that I recall, as a starting point. I find the moment in front of a painting compelling but I also like to savour, and in fact, prolong the emotional, physical and intellectual reactions that I take away with me. Writing a poem can do this. In part I am translating a visual image into words, in part I am paying homage to someone else’s work. I am using the artworks to keep a diary, but I am also heading off in whatever direction my fancy takes me.
Elizabeth Rees’s painting “Intersection” (Milford Galleries, Auckland, April-May 2002) haunted me. I was hooked by the resonation between light and shadow, country and city, belonging and not belonging, here and not there. Perhaps because I am pulled between the Waitakere Ranges and the West Coast beaches and Auckland City, between academic writing and writing poetry, between writing a novel and writing an essay. I waver between belonging to a poetry community and not belonging. Whatever crossroads and intersections I encounter in my life, poetry helps me get my bearings.’