everywhere I go
people show me photos of their children
of themselves as black and white children
of their great–grandparents as sepia children
and when they ask me if I have any photographs
of my childhood
I want to give them
the smell of sun on a concrete path
a fairy bite from the jaws of a towering snapdragon 
the movement of my mother's hips
as she attempted to perform that brand new dance
the twist 
and the sound of the bell ringing
to call us in from standing on our hands

but instead I haul out my old photographs
and start with the one of me
as a baby –
the prophetic one in which the crux
of the action 
is carefully hidden;
I am sitting up
on a pouf
a pert blonde 5 month old bombshell
and crouching unseen behind me
the veil of her shadow
tucked in,
is my mother
holding me up

Douglas Wright was born in Tuakau, South Auckland in 1956. he danced with Limbs Dance Company of Auckland, the Paul Taylor Dance Company of New York and DV8 Physical Theatre of London before forming the Douglas Wright Dance Company in New Zealand in 1989.

Over his 30 year career he has created many acclaimed works of dance-theatre: including How on Earth, Gloria, Forever, Elegy, halo, Inland, and Black Milk. In 2000 Wright was one of the five inaugural Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureates. His celebrated 2004 memoir Ghost Dance won the E.H. McCormick Best First Book of Non-Fiction prize in 2006. then, in 2007, his first book of poetry, Laughing Mirror, was published. He is currently working on a new dance project, and has completed a second volume of poetry, Mesmerism, to be published in due course.

Poem source details >



The New Zealand Listener
Steele Roberts: Laughing Mirror