Tuesday Poem: Icicles, by Barry Smith

In the mountain’s mouth
a prison with bars of ice
these flutes filled
with vodka and sky
bubbles of silence within
released by a single blow
music of stars sent
to the valley below.

Credit note: “Icicles” is from Barry Smith’s collection Always a little further… Poems of mountains and valleys (2004) and is reproduced by permission of the author and publisher.

Tim says: I picked up this collection of Barry’s poems at the Hawke’s Bay Poetry Conference in 2013, and read it late last year. The subtitle very accurately describes the content, and I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy a whole collection that sticks to these two topics – but these are very well-written and evocative poems, and I enjoyed it a lot. “Icicles” is one of the shortest poems in the book; I especially like the elegance of its construction and the way it brings together scientific precision and metaphor.

About Barry Smith: Barry Smith loves telling yarns and writing both prose and poetry. He is a retired scientist with an interest in printmaking and the outdoors. He has spent much time outdoors tramping and trying to get to the tops of mountains. These days especially, he is interested in environmental issues. He writes poetry and has had his work published and included in anthologised collections.

His most recent collection Hard Scrabble was self-published via Blurb and can be seen in preview or purchased at Blurb. There are choices of ebook, soft cover or hard cover ranging from US$5-20. At the same site a couple of his other books can be perused. He also writes a blog called Pukawaparadise in which he writes about numerous subjects – including poetry.

“Icicles” is from his first collection of poems Always a Little Further – mainly poems about mountains and valleys. Obtainable from the author at blchsmiths@gmail.com for NZ$20 including postage.

The Tuesday Poem: Has been back up and running for a couple of weeks, and this week’s poem is “Like a Butterfly” by Jennifer Compton.

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