Before we all hung out in cafés

At primary school on the monkey bars
we'd hang, aching, from the middle rung

having riffed our way along the first six bars
then the wrench in the shoulders at the seventh.

Nowhere to go but the classroom or home
from the patch of rubbed out grass

where the rhythm failed us.

LISTEN to ‘Before we all hung out in cafés’ by Lynn Davidson

Lynn Davidson is the author of three collections of poetry, How to live by the sea, (Victoria University Press, 2009), Tender (Steele Roberts, 2006) and  Mary Shelley's Window (Pemmican Press, 1999), and a novel, Ghost Net (Otago University Press, 2003). Her poetry and short stories have appeared in SportLandfallTurbine and The Red Wheelbarrow. She has a poem in the new edition of the poetry anthology Big Weather, poems of Wellington, and in Great Sporting Moments, The Best of Sport Magazine. In 2003 she was awarded the Louis Johnson Writer's Bursary.

Davidson comments: 'Playing on the monkey bars at school is universal isn't it? You launch off, hand over hand, all light and rhythmical and fluid, and then the weight of your body slows you down. As a poet I am, of course, interested in rhythm and in risk. I still look for the rhythm that will get me to the far side of the monkey bars.

"He just doesn't swing" was the strongest criticism I ever heard my father make of a fellow muso. And he looked so sad when he said it, like being able to swing was the most important thing of all.'

Poem source details >



New Zealand Book Council writer file
Victoria University Press author page