Harry Ricketts


In the Tube

On the platform
at Tottenham Court Road
the scrub-bearded young man leans

over a large,
black notebook, pen in hand.
The doors close with a soft hwish.

In a moment
he’s going to write down
the eight words that contain all

his pain and all
the pain of the whole world.
Here come the words now, burning

from brain to hand,
from hand to pen, to page:
Left on the line you heart my

misery. There
are the words, but
they don’t sound quite right somehow.

He tries again:
You on the heart-line left…

The train is pulling slowly away.


To Diss

We zip through mist.

Snow-blobbed fields,
ghost trees,
a murder of crows.

The cold bends in.
it wants to press
its face to the window.


S-bahn 1

On the street, snow ankle-deep.
Tschüs, tschüs,” the Berliners say.

On the train, two bundled-up
girls pass teddy to and fro.

The creased man tilts back his head.
Clink-clank, clink-clank goes his bag.

Teddy passes to and fro.


Carlton, Edinburgh,
with Tommy, 2010

Twenty years ago, I pushed you down
and back up Great Kings Street.
Autumn stained the Otago hills.

Today I strain to keep at your heels,
slipsliding up Carlton.
Snow bleaches the Crags, Arthur’s Seat.



Harry Ricketts teaches English literature and creative writing at Victoria University of Wellington and has published over twenty books. These include Strange Meetings (Chatto & Windus, 2010), a group biography of a dozen British WW1 poets, and 99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry (Random House, 2010), with Paula Green. His most recent poetry collection is Your Secret Life (HeadworX, 2005).