When, exactly?

It was a curious thing, in a Waikato paddock,
a day when wind seemed a story you had half-
forgotten, the puriri’s every twig as though carved
from jade, the late corn squadroned in the paddock
you stood in.
         In the 3 o’clock steaming silence
you could hear the minute rustling of jaws—‘Army
worm’ they were called, taking their luck, their
time, on the uncut crop. It was hearing yourself
age. It was here, surrounded by before and after,
yet moving, moving, at the pace of an insect set
against ten hectares. It was summer, 1968.

Vincent O'Sullivan's collection of poems Us, then, was published last year, as was the two volume edition of The Collected Fiction of Katherine Mansfield, which he co-edited for Edinburgh University Press. His new book of stories, The Families, and his Selected Poems, will be published this year by Victoria University Press. Requiem for the Fallen, written with composer Ross Harris, was performed by the New Zealand String Quartet and the New Zealand Chamber Choir at this year's New Zealand Festival of the Arts. He is the current New Zealand Poet Laureate.

Poem source details >



New Zealand Book Council writer file