Mark is one of those enviable people who can spill simply reams of poetry without looking at the words. He is a true performance poet and I have always enjoyed his skills.
Here he is reading The Weatherman
Of the poem below, Mark says, ‘For a Friend Leaving was written after a catch up with a close friend who had come over to Collingwood for a visit. An evening at the Mussel Inn followed by a chat long into the night under the Golden Bay stars confirmed the value of friendship and the ties that bind us.’
For a Friend Leaving
From the roadside he brought wild blackberries
and came over the hill to find me.
The next morning he stewed the fruit
and we poured it over the mix of oats and nuts
and breakfasted beneath the punga ferns
beside the estuary, waiting for the tide.
The night before we unfolded matters of the heart
as we raised the white beer to our lips at the inn.
The folk singer eased his songs through the glass window
as we delved into the great love
that hung from the rocking-horse moon above our heads;
that weaved a thread to hold each star in its place
and we wondered how it was that we ourselves had fallen.
Back home whiskey, from the isles in the north
sang to the songs of the poet and gave permission
to the words locked upon the page to take their leave
and find that place where they were born
without interpretation or form.
Its how we know, he said, in the telling
and in the hearing of the story over and over again;
Oh that we had another night, and another,
to rest in the silence, in the sweet comfort of friendship,
making sense as best we can of the road
and the wild berries and the mountain river
that runs down the valley and out to the sea
past the stones engraved with war
and then lost like time in eternity.
7 March 2014
Thank you Mark for permission to publish these poems.
Bio in Brief: Words have been Mark Raffills’ stock-in-trade for over 40 years. Whether scribbling dispatches from the famine-stricken Horn of Africa or penning reviews of rock albums, or more latterly producing copy, newsletters and magazines for a whole range of clients, the Nelson-based publisher, journalist, and publicist has crafted text as though his life – and the lives of others – depended on it. He has three self-published collections of poems and he is convener of both the Golden Bay and Nelson Live Poets groups. Over the last couple or three years Raffills has performed with the Dirt Floor Alliance – a bluegrass/blues/spoken word combo that has toured throughout the South Island with a couple of foray’s into the North and a jaunt around Queensland.
And now, do visit the Tuesday Poem Hub Page, edited this week by Janis Freegard.
While you’re there check out the poems and poets in the left hand sidebar with its offerings from up to thirty Tuesday poets. There is always something new to discover.