Fruitlessly I fall once more in love with the barren tree.

Her cold arms grip the sun in a perpetual autumn

      of age-worn friends, of sad reminiscence, of the worn art

that hauls its wares like a patient down the street,
      of age and the pain of rediscovering old pain

in a sunless world, there in the garden in the damp.

      Where her shadow lingers lies my heart’s presentiment;

I have dug among hook-grass and wilding bulbs,

      hoping for warmth that might be intrinsic to the loam;

but the dew comes quickly, dark falls off the stars

      like the leaves that slipped from her unrelenting limbs.

The awareness grows that I am nothing to her;

  I retread the mashed grass that my first forays made,
and wish only to hide in the ignorance of sleep.

Richard Reeve was born in 1976, and currently works as an editor for Otago University Press. His third and fourth volumes of poetry, In Continents (Auckland University Press) and a long poem called The Among (Pear Tree Press), are both to be released in 2008. He has published poetry widely in New Zealand and internationally, including in Best New Zealand Poems.

Poem source details >



New Zealand Book Council writer file
Best New Zealand Poems 2001 and 2004