Setting the Seal on NZ Poetry


A wharf. 
A Young Man comes with a bundle of books under his arm. 
He stops at the end of the wharf. 
He drops the bundle of books into the water.

Young Man: Not a single copy sold.



The same wharf, some years later. 
A Young Woman comes to the end of the wharf.

Young Woman: When I was young and very wise…

She jumps off the end of the wharf.



Under the water beneath the wharf the Young Woman has found a copy of 
the Young Man’s book and is reading it.

Young Woman: If I had known about this book, I never would have jumped.



The Young Man, no longer now a young man, has returned to the wharf 
where he threw away his unsold books.

Young Man no Longer Young: One reader would have been enough.

He jumps.



A Seal clambers up the side of the wharf and flops onto the planks.

Seal: My body bedded in sea — midmost wave
after drear days I felt again the sun

The Young Man (young again!) and the Young Woman (forever young) are 
seen walking together and reading a book on the wharf behind the Seal, who 
does not see them there.

Young Woman: Did you hear a seal bark?


Murray Edmond’s latest books include: A Piece of Work (Hawai‘i: Tinfish Press, 2002), Fool Moon (Auckland University Press, 2004) Montana finalist 2005 and Noh Business (Berkeley: Atelos Press, 2005).He is editor of the on-line journal Ka Mate Ka Ora: A New Zealand Journal of Poetry and Poetics. He teaches Drama and Theatre at University of Auckland.

Poem source details >



Trout 13/Tinfish 16
Ka Mate Ka Ora: A New Zealand Journal of Poetry and Poetics
New Zealand Book Council writer file
nzepc — New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre: link to online work
New Zealand Electronic Text Centre
Auckland University Press author page