Romantic Voyage

We took the No.12 to some place
then the 14
         somewhere west
of there

         this deep in the flowery grass

we gave up waiting
for the No.5
         and took the the 23

         the crickety mound where the season sings

having missed the No.3
which was early
         we managed to catch
the 15
which was late
and took us as far as

         one green island, one gas tank, graffitied

that most accustomed of places:
the outermost edge
         of things.

Gregory O’Brien’s recent books include two non-fiction titles, Back and Beyond—New Zealand Painting for the Young and Curious (Auckland University Press, 2008) and A Nest of Singing Birds—100 Years of the New Zealand School Journal (Learning Media, 2007). Recent small press poetry publications include The Wolf of HorekeFinitudes and Small Edible Garden (Fernbank Studio). In his role as curator at City Gallery Wellington, he is currently working on an exhibition of work by John Pule.

O’Brien comments: ‘ “Romantic Voyage” is the final poem in a recently-finished collection, The Non-Singing Seats, where it is located—like the poem’s narrator—on the outermost edge of the book, or of things generally. The history of poetry is strewn with sailing, voyaging vessels, and finds therein one of its great metaphors. The notion of stitching together such a “romantic voyage” by way of a public transport timetable seems to me more in keeping with the actual process of writing poetry in Auckland or Wellington or elsewhere these days.’

Poem source details >



Fulcrum 6
New Zealand Book Council writer file
Victoria University Press author page