Header Tank

           Headiness operates at multiple levels
height transforms the physical world

                                views contain a need, solutions also . . .

          instruction is not always instructive
not always a simple equation

                              gravity alone provides the force, flood-
                     gates trip fresh running water

an open source:
                                          deposits choke systems
                                clouds drip-feed lakes : reservoirs hold on

                     . . . from the opposite bank trails mix catchments
          rock-cut channels fan out over the hillside

                              trace a relative depth, above header tanks

                                         a big head generates
                    a small head . . . loquacious

          easier to build access across the base of the valley
to lift the deepest part          dug from both ends

           joined in the middle              one that fits the head of an object
                                     one that removes the head from an object

               a central connection

                                          dreams support angular frames
like a floor or roof beam attached to two long beams

                              a heady dive or fall . . . a ledge be-

          tween . . . the south wall has a small window
a wall covered with pin-pricks . . . focus

                     headlines report the presence of war

                              how much light enters
          the eyelid at the inlet side?

reactions evaluated on the basis of an established case history

         an aside           (of necessity please censor the appropriate sentence
                    remember, we are all perfectly capable of silence).

Sam Sampson was born in Auckland, and grew up in South Titirangi, next to Little Muddy Creek. His poetry has been published in chapbooks and journals, including: JacketPoetry ReviewThe Iowa Review and Stand Magazine. He has collaborated on a number of publications and exhibitions with artist Peter Madden. In 2007 he was the Curnow Reader at the Going West Books and Writers Festival.

Everything Talks, his first collection of poems, was published by Auckland University Press (NZ), and Shearsman Books (UK) in June 2008.

Sampson comments: ‘ Header Tank (OED): a tank of water etc. maintaining pressure in a plumbing system. In 2006, I heard an ominous dripping sound in the ceiling, and after inspection, found water leaking from the header tank. From this initial sonic cue, and through a series of riffs on water systems and catchment networks, the poem is a notation of these fractures and fragments. In the wider context of events surrounding the poem (media reportage of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East) the poem registers:  “headlines report the presence of war”, then asks, how to read, or respond to such “case histories”. How can a poem “ . . . the ledge between”, be both inside and outside of time? What is it to censor a sentence . . . a thought, a language? What is it to be perfectly capable of silence?’

Poem source details >



Auckland University Press author profile
Sam Sampson’s website
Shearsman Books author page
Peter Madden and Sam Sampson exhibition images
Going West Curnow Reading 2007