Tuesday Poem: Evensong In A Graveyard Of Villas, by Keith Westwater


The pines on the ridge are about to cede
their colour to the night. Once more
light’s absence will shroud this place.

Not even car-lights on the highway below
(such is their need for road when it’s dark)
re-mark the trees – their placement

their particular explanation of green.
Soon the evening will lay claim too
to vestiges of villas which once stood

in the bush beneath the pines –
orphaned lawns, homeless paths
rhododendron that flower

among five-finger, tree fern, rata.
These last artefacts mark the bones
of grand abodes. These and a plaque

at the site of each home
listing its name, its history of dwellers
its date of sacrifice to the road.

Credit note: “Evensong In A Graveyard Of Villas” is from Keith Westwater’s debut poetry collection Tongues of Ash.

Tim says: In late October, Keith Westwater and I will be embarking on a book tour to Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Lower Hutt and Auckland to launch our respective collections, his Tongues of Ash and my Men Briefly Explained.

I met Keith when we both did the IIML Writing The Landscape course, run by the wonderful Dinah Hawken, in 2003. “Evensong In A Graveyard Of Villas”, the penultimate poem in the penlutimate section of Tongues Of Ash, is a fine example of his landscape poetry, and anyone who knows me will know that I am in full agreement with the last line!

The Tuesday Poems: You can check out all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem Blog – this week’s hub poem in the centre of the page, and all the other Tuesday Poems on the right.

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