Tuesday Poem: The Reader, by Robin Fry

The new anthology is here.
I read through it
turning the pages          on and
from its end to its beginning
seeking connection

And —
here it comes
surprising me at last —
the rare, the numinous one
like the flick of a silver tongue
light falling
from another room.

Credit note: “The Reader” is from Robin Fry’s new collection Portals, published by Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, and is reproduced by permission of the author.

Portals is available directly from Robin for $15, sent to Robin Fry, 19 Bolton Street, Petone, Lower Hutt 5012. Robin can also be contacted by email: robinfry@paradise.net.nz

Here is an excellent article* from the Hutt News about Robin and her writing: Life’s experiences inspire words.

*Stuff’s page title is wrong, though – this is Robin’s fifth collection.

Tim says: I went to the launch of Portals at the Lower Hutt Library, which was a great success: 60 or so people came along, Jo Thorpe gave an excellent introduction which you can read on the ESAW website, lots of people bought the book, and Robin read very well.

I have been reading Portals this week and, among a number of poems I like very much, “The Reader” jumped out at me because it so well conveys the experience of looking at a new anthology and hoping to find one or more poems that take the breath away.

There are some fine poems in Robin’s previous collections, too – here are links to a couple from her previous collection, Time Traveller:

Riverine Elements

You can check out all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog – the hub poem in the middle of the page, and all the other poems in the sidebar on the right.

Tuesday Poem: Riverine Elements, by Robin Fry

Riverine elements
(water, wind, earth, fire)

Led deeper inland
by the sinuous body of the river
civilisation followed the contours of this valley
named for a man no one remembers –

a river that gathers its waters from the depths
of the green land and from the sky.
In flood it swells over its stone floor
pushing great logs down to its delta
where storms return them
for children to ride like beached
whales along the sands of Petone.

The walls of hills are giant handrails
defining the valley, guarding its settlements
from the ferocious appetite of the ocean
earth’s rocks folded and faulted
through slow millenia
tamed and carpeted now to foothills
“where sheep may safely graze.”

Rail and roads followed the river
opened the folds of the hills
where houses perch like eagles’ nests
their windows gazing south to
an eternity of snow and water.

It is winter now
and Tararua’s icy breath
fogs the river flats
wreaths the goblin trees of Rivendell
the bush-clad terraces of Kaitoke.

Bare willows march their torches of flame
along the river banks
and soon, this clear, cold evening
the day will die around us in the colours of fire.

Credit note: This poem is from Robin Fry’s 2010 collection Time Traveller, published by Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop and available from the publisher.

Tim says: Time Traveller contains a number of Robin’s best-known poems, such as the superb Hurry, which won the open division of the New Zealand Poetry Society’s International Poetry Competition in 2008, but when I read this collection I was especially drawn to this lovely poem about the Hutt Valley.