Friends decide to separate. After,
we enter the clearing, retrace our steps. A fine
rain settles, and everything is un—
accountably beautiful, unaccountable,
being not promised. Promise – it hung
in the air over the improvised picnic table,
between the opened faces; we nearly sang.
Depressions in the grass, the shape of laughter.
All that time the lines lay, unconverging,
fiercely gauged off each other, overgrown in the dirt –
now ripped out like spade-stuck fencing wire,
turf turned and agape the length of the clearing.
We look down. Gutted for you, mate.
And there, unrotted, their pitch glinting, the sleepers.
(Auckland University Press)
John Dennison was born in Sydney in 1978. His first collection of poems, Otherwise (Carcanet/Auckland University Press) was published in 2015. The book was long-listed for the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards, and short-listed for the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection. Dennison is also the author of Seamus Heaney and the Adequacy of Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2015). In 2016 he was awarded the Louis Johnson New Writer’s Bursary by Creative New Zealand. He lives with his family in Wellington, where he is a university chaplain.