Harry Ricketts


Haumoana Triptych

The signpost simply says: Libraries
The Libraries of Haumoana:

how grand that sounds;
what a ring to it!

The Libraries of Haumoana.
It could be the title

of some lost story by Borges
or poem by Wallace Stevens.

In these photos Richard’s
and Angie’s kids are still
fishing or playing cricket,

Jade still guards the darkening
beach, the driftwood fire still
glows though you can’t quite catch

those foil-wrapped potatoes
that were so delicious.
The clotted-cream evening sky

comes out well as does
that distant boa of smoke
from the fertiliser

factory. And somewhere
out of shot the wine goes round
and Maggie’s daughter giggles

and says to her friend:
“Want to see my mum drunk?
It’s not a pretty sight.”

This evening the white-faced heron
does his silly walk as usual,
stepping so extravagantly,
so daintily, over the mudflats,
through the lowtide water.
But there’s nothing remotely
silly about the way his bill
suddenly, unerringly stabs down.



Harry Ricketts was born in London. He has published seven collections of poems, an acclaimed biography of Kipling, The Unforgiving Minute (1999), and the essay How To Live Elsewhere in the Montana Four Winds Press series (2004). He is co-editor of the review journal New Zealand Books and lives in Wellington where he teaches English literature and creative non-fiction at Victoria University.