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Books & Poetry

Poem: Like passing through a portal

Books & Poetry

This week’s Poet’s Corner contribution from Stephen Oliver is set in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island.

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A pastoral dialogue, Waikato

The sign read, Hora Hora, more district
than place, maybe a community hall nearby, the
hydo-village long since drowned under
Lake Karapiro. Farther up into hill country
(the lake now lost to view) hydrangeas glowed
white along some farmstead driveway,
beneath overarching, dark green elms. Stillness.
Back at the lake, Quad skis relentlessly
swung back & forth, in front of the Hora Hora
Public Domain, rodeos on waterways.

Grain silos rustling at Walton,
wind gusts awash through trees – then
the small, hump-back bridge, across the railway
line, by the red brick Community Church.
In the foreground, a corrugated-iron roof folds
over like a badly parted hair-do, barn style.
Poplars all in a row, waiting for wind to make an
impression. By the time it takes to reach
Kiwitahi School, you’ve guessed that, whatever
it was, has gone back underground. A ute
pulls past, by Eureka Hall, the settlement now
receding, as if you had exited a portal
into what must be an embodiment of the present,
grain silos, railway bridge, white hydrangeas.

Stephen Oliver has travelled widely; he lived for 20 years in Australia, and now lives 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. In the late 1970s he 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Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments.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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