Tuesday Poem – Another Country by Karen Brookes

far from me on that westward leading road

above the crumbling gorge that checks the Buller

perhaps you rest on the narrow verge waiting

for a vehicle to take you to the coast


I know your route…past Newton’s Flat where


and possum pelts hang shaded by a verandah

further on, off a hairpin bend, an empty field

where Lyell once provided for the miner


one time we stopped mid afternoon and raised

a tent

as sunlight dipped beyond the narrow valley

made our way via wooded tracks to tombstones

along gold bearing streams to disused shafts


returning we embraced beneath the shelter

with tenderness and passion refilled that lonely


on which had been a seething town where lives

were reckoned up and spent for elusive metal


now desolate…

without you, I am landscape

deprived of living forms that lend it grace

your absence as a tree’s untimely wrenching

from my soil

our uniting a refurbishing…I count the days


the Tasman smites eroded rock, up heaves

potently on flax edged, shingle beaches…

nothing divides us at this point but ocean swells

shoals of fish, maybe a ship…dolphins…

The poem above comes from a new collection of poems and short stories by Karen D Brookes. I chose it for its strong sense of place …in this case the West Coast of NZ.  I loved the way she became the empty landscape she talked of when her lover was gone, ‘now desolate…without you, I am landscape/deprived of living forms that lend it grace.’ Karen has been writing since she was in her twenties. It was she that taught me that poetry is a craft in the days when I thought it was a spontaneous outpouring of words. She is very modest about her poetry which has won various awards and been published in a wide selection of anthologies, and magazines including Poetry New Zealand. Karen says: Poems written to order don’t work at all for me; I must be motivated by a strong feeling or a line that comes unbidden to take my attention so that I can run with it and I can be surprised by the results. I don’t write to please anyone other than myself. The poems are usually imbued with a strong, individual rhythm.

About her life, she comments, I’ve travelled, raised a young family, had a variety of jobs and have lived in both the north and south islands, now being happily settled in Golden Bay. I enjoy gardening, photography and tramping and try to combine the last two.

   Miscellany is for sale on Amazon 

Or if you live in Golden Bay you can buy it at the local bookstore.