A Hassidic story might start . . .

A Hassidic story might start with trees and a problem

Once in Poland 
or any other country with black trees, 
a Jewish girl 
needed to be someone else.    

involve water and someone taking heroic action

She bought a set of other people's clothes 
which she hid under a rock 
beside a deep pool in the woods.

One day she walked into the woods 
changed into her new clothes 
and left.

which might have miraculously ordinary results

The first day 
was sailing in past Barrett's Reef 
and seeing hills and houses.

The first summer 
was the young man. 
No-one else. 
No words.

involve trees again

The first house 
had a hill behind it, covered with trees. 
He built a clothes line. Sheets 
pulled away from this line 
like sails.

and end with wind moving over water

Lynn Jenner completed an MA at Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters in 2008. Her collection Dear Sweet Harry won the Adam Foundation Prize for an outstanding folio in that year and is to be published by Auckland University Press in mid-2010. Another poem from Dear Sweet Harry appeared in Best New Zealand Poems 2008. In 2009 Lynn's poems appeared in JAAMTakahe and 4th Floor.

Jenner comments: 'Once, in the liminal zone between the end of a day and the arrival of night, an old man with a beard and thick glasses told Jewish mystical stories to a room full of people, in Wellington. This darkening room could have been in any country, hundreds of years ago, or today. The poem whizzes across time as I did that night, transforming a story which could be from anywhere, into the story of two particular people, who built a house in Aro Valley, in Wellington. Their story ends with a wind from the beginning of everything.

A Hassidic story might start . . . (first published in JAAM 27, 2009) is from Dear Sweet Harry, a mixed genre work of poetry, prose, found text and visual images that concerns, among other things, the life and times of Harry Houdini.'

Poem source details >



Best New Zealand Poems 2008
Turbine 08 and 09
4th Floor 2008 and 2009 
JAAM 27, 2009