The Full Poems from Wild Lines (Part I)

Thanks for visiting Wild Lines.  Here are half of the complete poems.  All poems in Wild Lines are by living poets from NZ and around globe.  Buy poetry, especially from living poets.  Support this art, it  may be the least recompensed art on the block.  Support poetry; support poets.  Live long and write verse.

Jet Stream

Doubt is only by limits
or when the weather interrupts.
Love, the constant and variant need, to know.
And to kiss is just because. A bird bursts

through the sky, the sky with its clouds,
its jet stream. Responsible trees stand
in ways we will never stand, still.
This afternoon, with its shouts of children.

Lynley Edmeades [NZ]




It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.

Even in this
one lifetime,
you will have to choose.

That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books —

Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.

Jane Hirshfield [USA] from ‘Given Sugar, Given Salt,’ (Harper Collins, 2002).


he maimai

auē auē auē
he aha te korero

he aha te waiata mokemoke
o ngā tangata ēnei tino ngaro?

ko wai e pirangi
tēnei ora uaua?

ko wai e mōhio
he pūtake hou?

auē auē auē
ko te maunga
ki he whenua
kua tata he awa
tino raki

kāore ngā hihi
ki he ra
tino hūhē.

kāore ngā hihi
ki he ra
tino hūhē.

auē auē auē
kua te mutunga
kei mua te orokohanga.

a lament [for the dead]

ah ah ah
what’s the story

what’s the lonely song
of these very lost people?

who wants
this difficult life?

who knows
a new rationale?

ah ah ah
the broken mountain
in the ugly land
a very dry river

no sunbeams
on this exhausted

no sunbeams
on this exhausted

ah ah ah
it’s the end
the beginning.

Vaughan Rapatahana  [NZ, Hong Kong]



The Crowd 

And today, as you walk to the match, I am beside you.
Proud to be alive. Proud to be walking beside you,
to take our seats together.
And you know my name. You know all our names.
We are beside and between you,
our souls, invisibly visible.

We are waking. We are smiling.
We are walking in your hearts.
And we are prouder still to know today,
tomorrow, next week, month or year
you will not chant us down again.
You will not chant us down in our sorrows.
You will not chant us back into the earth.

For we left the earth where we thought we were alone
yet we are beside you, laughing and singing and unbroken.
If you were to hear me among the crowd
you would hear a song.
Were I to pass invisibly among your jostling arms,
or carried to earth, you would hear me singing with you.
If I took you to one side and told you ‘you were my brother’,
what would you sing to your brother?
If I took you to one side and told you ‘you were my sister’,
what would you sing to your sister?.
You are my brother and you are my sister.
Nothing can kill me, for I am the crowd.

And the sun shone over Merseyside, over Manchester,
over the Pennines with its skylarks and brightening becks,
over Penistone and Stocksbridge and Hillsborough.
Liverpool fans in their buses – cheering the roof off –
anticipation, faith in the day and the song of life
no stronger than your own, just scousier.

You will not chant them down again.
You will not chant them down in their sorrows.
You will not chant them back into the earth.
And today, as you walk to the match, they are beside you.
Proud to be walking beside you, to take your seats together.
And you know their names. You know all their names.

We are walking to the same match.
We are walking on the same road.
We are arriving at the same gates.
We are waiting. We are laughing. We are singing.
And we do not know it but this is joy.
Nothing can kill us, for we are the crowd.

David Morley [UK] (Commissioned by Radio 5 Live for the Hillsborough tragedy)


Ross Creek

Walk incandescent to this stilly place,
dark reservoir where the small wind runs touch
around its rim and the water rings
now and then on one thin glassy note.
The ducks approach like night nurses,
small noises from their throats
like rubber soles squeaking,
door handles gently turned.
Heads bowed in leafy cowls,
the trees seem deep-rooted
in their own green doubles
like kings and queens
in a fortune teller’s pack
who recount the same trouble
again and again:
I see a mind like a wheel
turned inwards.
I see that for fire to swallow itself,
for despair and anger
to burn again and again
right back to love —
it takes courage.
You will need such courage.

Emma Neale [NZ]


Transitory Experience

We passed by the river…
We left on the bridge’s dusty air, a dream
That lightened
We returned…
And said: tomorrow
When the bridges become heavens
We’ll get the dream to rain…

Were we close, meanwhile, to the idea of love?

Naseer Hassan [Iraq] from ‘The Circle of Sundial’ (1998).



Is is.

There is no distinction.


He records his name on a gold medallion.


The philosopher must say is.

The world is legion.

The self is a suffering form.

Is is.

Waves rise and fall, but the sea remains.

Srikanth Reddy [USA] from ‘Voyager,’ (University of California Press, 2011).



The sparrow arrives with the package

Cy Matthews [NZ]



After Adam

Men are such contrary things
They clutch at their gods
As though they would climb
Down to them
Slip between templed fingers
And land at mortal feet

Yet we and they
Walk a different path
And since you are the one not winged
Adam’s son
Stand naked beneath the brooding sky
Be the simple thing you are meant to be

TJ Dema [Botswana]


Last Born

I am the last born
I move through the crowd with my shiny red wheels
I bring with me large animals and flaming spikes in cages
I am the last born and I know who I want to vote for
I know the identity of the figure in black
Low prices are written all over my face
I am the last born and I have a long following
Everything and everyone is my elder
I move through the relatives in my green leaves
I eat canoes and drink inlets
I have a beard and a small fat crab inside my shell
I am the last born the pōtiki the teina
Everything breaks its back over me but there are
Many ways to build from scratch and in spite of the fact
That every fourth corner of the land has been walked
Over I make everything ready, being the last born
I am desired at each event, to lay down the
Cow leather, to direct people to the location of
The demons, the devils in the tarmac
We all bite something for a living
I know not to rave and shout when I reach these places
I bring children with me, just the right number
Of pumpkins and I sing completely out of tune
Buying up all the land around with my lucky sand dollars

Hinemoana Baker [NZ] from ‘Koiwi Koiwi: Bone Bone’ (Victoria University Press, 2010).



The silence of the tree is singing:
“The forest is on fire.”

I couldn’t sing along for the tears
in my speechlessness.
I, like the tailor in the Grimm Brothers,
clung to the tree trunk
(and held an iron to weigh myself
down against the wind).

“Memory, it seems, outweighs
even cast-iron.
But memory is a mold, a measure, a thing,
and you are what you were not.
The fire and the wind have taken
everything dearest
leaving in exchange sand and ash”.

This is what the tree sings.
Alexandra Petrova   [Russia, Italy]

a foreign language
caresses my mouth
like a piercing
on somebody else’s tongue

Andrei Khadanovich [Belarus]


chapter thirty-two (ii)

at the end of history
we shall never win fighting ourselves
the malay straits are empty
the age’s debris awaits low tide

Muhammad Haji Salleh [Malaysia]  Excerpt from ‘Beyond the Archipelago,’ Ithaca: Ohio University, 1995.



Let the fable begin:
El comienzo es el com, “with” in the beginning.

Turning with the stars.

A “uni verse” wants to con verse.

“Verse,” to turn.

Galaxies and blood

Fingerprint whorls,

breath and sound.

Ibn Arabi dreamt he made love to the stars.

In this observatory words are stars,

the night sky I see,

and language, the spinner’s view.

Is the spinner spun?

Cosmic fart, little gas?

Dialogar con lo que no es palabra al interior de las palabras crea la unión.

Opening words I arrived at no word.

A moment of trance where transformation begins:

silence to sound, and back.

An empty space within words where commingling occurs.

Abriendo palabras llegué a una inmensidad.

Our common being:

Language, el ser de todos in speech.

Una línea de fuerza que se acrecienta con nuestro pasar. Algo que vive

en la lengua toda y emerge como el llamado de un ser.

To hear its hum, a tongue within tongues.

Cecilia Vicuna [Chile] from ‘Instan’ (Kelsey St, 2002)
(full text at


About David KH

A citizen of Cascadia, I am interested in what triggers us into joy and especially how art and literature do such triggering. I am a writer of poetry and fiction, and an artist--and have enjoyed a varied and engaging career in education and non-profits in the greater Seattle area. May this blog help you connect with amazing ways artists and writers are engaging creatively with poetry and literature today. And also, help you discover your own triggers of joy.
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