Kerrin P. Sharpe


my father always…

my father always let the
station leave before the
train he always tipped
his fedora he always
pulled the earth in a
sugar bag weaving his
way through shingle
to receive the sacred
heart of clocks when
he thought of a needle
he heard his mother
when he whistled high
the sky turned his

my father’s cheeks were
rough weather every
morning he read the sky
as a boy he watched a
clot of fairies burn a
barn then drive six
black horses and his
grandfather beyond the
clouds that was his story

to hug my father was
to know the sky: the
voices of soldiers the
families that squeezed
him inside the hot breath
of thatch the hooks of
his wings even now I
hear the surprise of
small birds


overseeing the moon

the sky fills a bath
with cups of lightning

a black chook
drowns her feathers

the small brown dog
has spent too much time

watching the moon
and it has fallen

into his eye
a planet the vet

calls cataract
the farmer cries

basil basil basil
the dog cannot

see the words
or the lamb

he cannot whistle
an apology

for this darkness



Kerrin P. Sharpe is a poet and teacher of creative writing from Christchurch, New Zealand. Early on in her career she completed a paper in creative writing at Victoria University of Wellington (1976) and has gone on from then to have her poems published widely in both New Zealand and Australia. She has been published in Best NZ Poems 08, 09, and 10, Best of the Best NZ Poems (2011), Turbine, Snorkel, Bravado, Takahe, NZ Listener, Poetry NZ, Junctures, Sport and The Press. In 2008, she was awarded the New Zealand Post Creative Writing Teacher’s Award from the International Institute of Modern Letters. She was featured Poet in Takahe 69.

Of ‘my father always’ Sharpe writes: “My father was a great storyteller. I wanted to tell three of his stories.” Of ‘overseeing the moon’: “I heard the owner of basil the dog calling him late at night. I remembered that basil had a cataract and imagined him trying to find his home.”