Lone Kauri (Reprise)

So take for starters the surge-black fissure,
the waves which register the lunatic sense
it is all well beyond us. Our flooded nature

rages at the dying light, measures
its measures down some lone goat-track,
works up some incorrigible reprise

on grace, etc., a tuning fork
striking itself out of true on the table
of the elements. But blow, burn, break

and be done with it: baptism will
look like this, the flailing, the flensing of waves
and the breath knocked into you, the haul

that finds you first-footing land, brings
the morning. Forgive my making light of
the glass half-empty and you weighing up the dregs;

but I will get up like a love-cast father
awakening to children’s voices, the night-
time true underfoot, who hears their laughter

and finds, at the unclosed door, the seam of light.

John Dennison was born in Sydney in 1978 and grew up in Tawa, New Zealand. He has lived and studied in Wellington, Dunedin and St Andrews, Scotland, and now lives with his family in Wellington, where he is a university chaplain. His first collection, Otherwise, was published by Auckland University Press and Carcanet Press in early 2015. His poems have also appeared in magazines in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, and were anthologised in Carcanet’s New Poetries V (2011). Several poems have been published in Italian translation. Dennison is also the author of Seamus Heaney and the Adequacy of Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Poem source details >



Otherwise at Auckland University Press
Carcanet author page
‘John Dennison’ at the New Zealand Poet Laureate blog