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Poem: Poplars

Books & Poetry

In this week’s Poet’s Corner contribution, Stephen Oliver takes a further look at the Waikato Region on New Zealand’s North Island.

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Tikitiki Road, Waikato

A phalanx of poplars further on
into Tikitiki Road, crouching lions,
pursued by tusks of shadow,
cutting between. Early autumn, March.
“Sheep country?” I heard myself ask
in the otherwise light. And the
avenue of poplars either side of this
unsealed road, facing off
like bronze warriors; then becoming
bison, watering.

Poplars, impressionistic
visitants, sweeping through the seasons.
Here, a scatter of leaves, gilded
offerings made to the valley gods from
these back country sentinels.
The avenue bolt straight, while in
the foreground bison bend golden heads,
in procession. The farmer on his
quad bike unfussily gone. “Back with
a tractor,” he said. Nearby, off
the dirt road up ahead, dogs chorused,
reverberated, seemingly distant.

Stephen Oliver has travelled widely, lived for 20 years in Australia, and now does so in New Zealand. He is a voice artist, writer and poet. He has freelanced as a production voice, narrator, newsreader, radio producer, columnist, copy and feature writer, and in the late 1970s signed on with the offshore radio ship “Voice of Peace”, anchored off Jaffa in Israel. He has published his poetry widely in international literary journals and anthologies, including ‘Writing to the Wire’, University of Western Australia Publishing 2016, and ‘Manifesto: A Political Anthology’, Otago University Press 2017. He is a regular contributor of creative non-fiction and poems to the American Association of Australasian Literary Studies journal ‘Antipodes: A Global Journal of Australian and New Zealand Literature’. He has had poems translated into German, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian, and has published 18 collections of his poetry, including ‘Gone: Satirical Poems, New & Selected, Greywacke Press, Canberra, 2016.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.

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