13 Apr 2020

David Eggleton: Poet Laureate

From Easter Monday, 11:42 am on 13 April 2020

New Zealand’s current Poet Laureate, performance poet, reviewer and non-fiction writer, David Eggleton, talks about his role as a composer of poems for the nation.  Earlier this month a ceremony was planned for David to receive his laureate’s tokotoko carved by Jacob Scott, but the ceremony is now on hold until the Covid-19 alert is lifted. Karyn talks to David about what the role of Poet Laureate means to him, and invites him to share a poem or two with the nation. You can read the Poet Laureate's blog here.

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Photo: David Eggleton

David's poems:


Nor'-wester Flying


Gorse-cutters know they are quids in;

river's pledge is so polished it shines,

as a blind wind gropes the sand dunes.


Cloud whispers brush daylight's ear;

fern question-marks form a bush encore;

forlorn heat swings cobbed in webs.


Stone outcrops sideways knock the gale;

grasshoppers thread leaf-storm's blade,

paddocks kick for touch on the tar-seal.


Cries of birds interrogate bareback hills

that reveal bleached treatment for bones;

river's harp pings; and music of twig-falls

is blown away by thunder's aerodrome.



The Letter Zed


From zealot to ziggurat,

that zeitgeist, that zoetrope,

is Zealandia, son,

wear it on your lapel for your mother's sake.

Zugzwang ran the zoo,

and the zoo was an ark

for Zealandia and all who thrived there,

at the end of the alphabet,

knowing they were lucky last,

possessing the Anzac spirit and abundant lemon zest.

Even zambucks carrying a concussed player

zonked from the paddock,

zigzagged to the ambulance.

Those in Zephyrs and Zodiacs

bound down State Highway One,

heading home on a metal throne with rubber

tyres, knew they sat at the zenith.

Their zipped-up zippers shone,

their ziffs purred with satisfaction,

Zespri was their favourite sorbet.

Zowie! they went, zooming along,

catch the zeds from those over there.

We're zippy, but they are just zizz,

just z-listers in zombie droves.

Thataway, zanies chill, out of zone,

singing zip-a-dee-aye, zip-a-dee-eh,

zip-a-dee-doo-dah day, to zydeco.

They make zippo or zilch gestures,

they launch zingers from a phone,

each a zillionaire living on pure air,

till zapped by the self-same bug-zapper

that one day will zap

Zealandia back to zero

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