The Situation: Murray Edmond

The Situation 2020

Tēnā koutou katoa

‘The Situation 2020’ is a kind of Poet Laureate's Choice of work from Aotearoa New Zealand poets for the Poet Laureate blog. Essentially, it will be a portfolio of poetry, posted over the next while, from a range of poets whose work I have enjoyed reading recently: interesting poems for interesting times.

— David Eggleton

Back On The Night Shift

while you were away

the gentleman from Hong Kong came by

with the airline pilot’s wife

to enjoy themselves together

in your bed

they said you wouldn’t mind

so I let them in

and the waitress who occupies the lean-to

she was unaccountably seized

by a pain of unlocatable dimension

so they had to cut her open

but inside all looked


and they stitched her up again

meanwhile a poet dressed like a dandy

with a wooden apple box

and a typewriter inside

as well as

a spare pair of knickers

took up residence in the sitting room

now he’s gone

the ambience was not to

his melancholy taste

I left my room untidy

so when you brought your lover there

there was reason for your disappointment

and the vegetable coop

that occupies the garage

is dwindling in its membership

as well as schism-ed in its politics

which has left a lot of leaves

lying on the floor

how beautiful they are

there’s nothing in my head

not even a low-pitched mysterious hum

which would be welcome

the names of things I use

they’ve all been borrowed

from the bank

and tomorrow

I have to give them back

ring me if you must

or better a note left on the kitchen table

the circumstances that we met in

were quite beyond description

I’ve even cause for memory

to raise its gaudy flag

here put your hand upon the mattress

feel the spring

you know how it is

it’s been years since


the helicopter just flew over

I waved but it was too dark to capture

its attention

— Murray Edmond

Foolish Things

like the smell of a horse
or maybe worse

it was fear
I’m afraid to say

made me smell that way
but oh the relief

when the fear galloped away
to god knows where

where does fear
go when it’s gone

it’s gone
but with grief

not the same thing
the ghost of it clings

— Murray Edmond

Murray Edmond biography

Murray Edmond. Image by Joanna Forsberg.

Murray Edmond: lives in Glen Eden, Auckland. Poet (14 books, Shaggy Magpie Songs, 2015 and Back Before You Know, 2019); critic (Then It Was Now Again: Selected Critical Writing, 2014); fiction-writer (Strait Men and Other Tales, 2015); editor, Ka Mate Ka Ora ; dramaturge for Indian Ink Theatre.

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