Iain Britton


Fragments (Whakapapa)

Exactly where to sit
on this rocky ledge,
click heels,

salute birds, bats,
God’s sediment.

The world
is cast upside down
like the shrunken belly of a hill.

I swat a blowfly
sucking the print off
a cloud,

swivel slightly to listen to a horse
blowing loose earth from its nose,
rolling its body

in the smell of a wet field.
From this height,
the sun,

like a giant peach,
looks over my head -
just what is it I’m reading,

whose dust, whose ash,
exactly what to recall.
I breathe deeply,

from this bottled cold air.
I sign on the dotted line

to prove the authenticity
of this fragment,
that fragment.

The sky shuts down on the day,
on the night,
with me wedged between.



Iain Britton’s poetry has been published in New Zealand, Australia and internationally. Cinnamon Press (UK) has just published his first collection of poems. Of ‘Fragments (Whakapapa)’, Britton writes: “The poem was written soon after a visit to Waitetoko, a small community on Lake Taupo, with a marae, a church and an urupa (graveyard). The poem is about respect, ritual and the assimilation of that ‘otherness’ one can sometimes feel in such locations.”