Paris before the bombs in the shoes
the long grass under the trees at Wannsee
the river with the beautiful name
echoed in fountain spray
where we stroll intimes Unter den Linden
and break the bank for each other
mink and metal in one window harlequin
pants in the other        your eyes
in lapis and gold from Mosaicksatelier
curling treble clef for a morning hat
black peacock halo for quiver breath
did you dream Zauberflöte in puppets
woodwinds like cedar and lemon drops
the wealth of stars tilting your ecliptic
the orange moon on fire at the corner
the bullet-holes in the courtyards
the untranslatable word on the stone
incomprehensible numbers        knowledge
glittering in your eyes like broken crystal

Michele Leggott has published five books of poetry, the latest Milk and Honey (Auckland University Press, 2005). Co-editor of Big Smoke: New Zealand Poems 1960–1975 (Auckland University Press, 2000) with Alan Brunton and Murray Edmond; editor of Young Knowledge: The Poems of Robin Hyde (Auckland University Press, 2003). Coordinator since 2001 of the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc) at the University of Auckland. The extract included here is from the poem ‘milk and honey taken far far away’.

Leggott comments: ‘We went to Berlin in early summer for a festival that was so big we could lose ourselves getting from one venue to another. The sense of overwriting was inescapable; everything was itself and something completely other. John Tranter and Pam Brown were there for the Australians; Yang Lian stepped across a pavement and promised to make a return visit to Auckland. There was a huge electrical storm one night; bats flittering against the deep blue twilight of an open window another. We were listening to poetry four floors up in the Sophiensaele, in the old Jewish quarter. A few days later we took pictures of each other on Liberty Island in New York harbour with the twin towers in the background. It was 2001.’

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