The view from here III

Cilla, writing

We are the shortest laureates*. But this afternoon
Cilla almost touches the sky, writing
on her motel balcony, two storeys up.

Her head in its peaked cap, her pen
are outlined in a strange significant shadow
a little laureate traced by Rouault

and in the shadows a shorter laureate watching
admiring her application, her skywriting.
The day moon is there, the blinding sun.

Her neck grows warm, her neat head bends
over the page, she stretches her arms
and seems to frown and squint.

It is words, you clowns, the other laureate thinks
not sun in her eyes, not pain of thought
but heart and pen at work again.

Elizabeth Smither

*Cilla McQueen (2009-2011) and Elizabeth Smither (2001-2003) are the two shortest New Zealand poets’ laureate.

More poems in ‘The view from here’ series

The view from here — Ian Wedde

Takahe — Bill Manhire 

h e l l o   a n d   g o o d b y e — Michele Leggott 

Breach — Cilla McQueen

Between Shingle Creek and Fruitlands — Brian Turner

In these troubled times — Vincent O'Sullivan

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