Reading Brian Turner’s poetry is to wander through tussock, under a big Central Otago sky, basking in the heat of a summer’s day or breathing the crisp, clear air of winter.
His latest volume of poems, Just This, takes the reader to other places too and describes people and relationships with an eye for detail and gift for choosing words which tell more with each reading.
He explores Honesty and Fear, the First Day at School and Unfashionable Suggestions; he goes to a Shareholders Meeting, visits a South Dunedin Garden and the Matukituki; shows the view from High Windows; examines Celebrity and concludes The Earth is Enough.
It’s a wonderful collection of poems from a master wordsmith.
‘Find your place on the planet, dig in,
and take responsibility from there.’
Affecting without affection, like the sere hills
then the early evening sky where Sirius dominates
for a time, then is joined by lesser lights,
stars indistinct as those seen through the canopies
of trees shaking in the wind. There’s this wish
to feel part of something wholly explicable
and irreplaceable, something enduring
and wholesome that suppresses the urge to fight . . .
or is there? Ah, the cosmic questions
that keep on coming like shooting stars
and will, until, and then what? All I can say
is that for me nothing hurts more
than leaving and nothing less than coming home
when a nor’wester’s gusting in the pines
like operatic laughter, and the roadside grasses
are laced with the blue and orange and pink
of bugloss, poppies and yarrow, all of them
swishing, dancing, bending as they do, as we do.
– Brian Turner –
Just This by Brian Turner, published by Victoria University Press, 2009, $24.99.