We had dined; we came out.
The stars were above, high and bright.
‘Look…’ someone started but we
started the car instead.
In their autumn positions the stars –
one noticed the displacement of a constellation –
but the car like a little cavern
rode off under its cover.
Will we remember the dinner or the stars?
The waitress and the chef in the kitchen
listening for signs our conversation
like the stars over us was dying?
Elizabeth Smither has published 15 collections of poetry including A Pattern of Marching (Auckland University Press, 1989), winner of the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry in 1990, and The Lark Quartet (AUP, 1999), winner of the Montana New Zealand Book Award for Poetry in 2000. She was the first woman Te Mata Estate Poet Laureate and her laureate collection, Red Shoes(Godwit, 2003) was published at the conclusion of her two-year term (2001-2003). Her most recent collections are The Year of Adverbs (AUP, 2007) and Horse Playing the Accordion (ahadada books, 2007). In 2004 she received an Hon D.Litt from Auckland University and in 2008 she was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry.
Smither comments: ‘I love dining out and one of my favourite restaurants is Okurukuru, set in vineyards just outside New Plymouth. In summer you can eat on the high deck and watch rabbits in the vines and in winter you come out to a skyful of stars and a view of snow-coated Mt Taranaki. However wonderful the meal and the conversation, surely this starry sky warrants more than a quick glance as we run for the warm car?’
New Zealand Books: Autumn 2010
TLS: July 31 2009
Best New Zealand Poems 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre: online work
New Zealand Book Council author page