Just This

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.

 Just This

‘Find your place on the planet, dig in,

and take responsibility from there.’

         Gary Snyder

 

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.

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