Poem — Harry Ricketts

A literary history

R A K Mason

The problem with being a poet

in New Zealand is: how do you show it?

No one wants a lone crag,

or Christ on the swag.

But I’m going to be famous, I know it.


Allen Curnow

What’ll last takes time to foresee …

This moa, now ‑ tall as a tree,

but failed to adapt.

Result: it got zapped.

The trick? Standing upright. (Like me.)


Denis Glover

As a lad I was happy as Larry;

now thistledown’s all that I carry.

Flowers of the sea

are no use to me;

so why do I pluck them? sings Harry


James K Baxter (1)

There once was this wonderful bay.

As kids, we would swim there all day.

But the bay wasn’t real;

it was just an ideal.

Romantic, like Wordsworth. Okay?


James K Baxter (2)

Hey Colin, it’s just as I feared:

now God’s put a louse in my beard.

It seems to be saying

I ought to be praying.

So I do. God laughs. Really weird.


Maurice Gee

There was an old preacher called Plumb

who was deaf and most certainly dumb.

He’d got so obsessed

his kids were repressed

and he wasn’t too nice to their mum.


C K Stead

I know, I’ll put Janet and Jim

‑ and Frank ‑ in a book for a whim.

All the critics will say,

“What a roman à clef!

Why aren’t we as clever as him?”


Fleur Adcock (1)

Oh fucking’s the most awful bore;

it quickly turns into a chore.

There’s no need to linger,

just use a finger

and do it yourself on the floor


Fleur Adcock (2)

My son wants to show me a snail,

it’s left a yucky, wet trail

all over his bed ‑

I squash the thing dead

and make up a devious tale.


Keri Hulme

There once was this girl without fear,

liked shells, was a bit of a seer.

She beat up this guy

who abused his son, Si.

After that it goes mystic and queer.


Anne French

I’ve said it again and again:

the slyest evaders are men.

Their verse, like their cocks,

always reeks of old socks.

It’s lucky I’ve got a sharp pen.


Cilla McQueen

Wow! Science is poetry too!

Quarks dance. Take a chance. I love you.

Not another award

O crikey I’m bored.

Perhaps I should try something new.

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