Cold Hub Press ~ John Gallas


freepost per copy – national & international

price NZ$19.50


John Gallas

ISBN: 978-0-473-27737-6

Softcover chapbook, 36pp, 210 x 145mm

A chapbook of wonderfully whimsical "travel" poems. . . . Sail off, bike on, fly away, walk up : here is the shiny Pacific, where live the tricksy Taniwha, the Rocket Apple, the Long Comma Bird, the Smiling Dog, the Fenian Tui, and Death ; and Something’s Plenty of convicts, pigs, graves, thrones, emus, ghosts, dreams, keas, gold, boxers, gumtrees, yachts, pearls, roosters, Adventure, and some rather nice matting. In this awestruck flurry of poems, Our Place raises its surprising head for a while, in spouts, sonnets, complaints, ballads, snippets, laments and postcards, from the vasty blue.

John Gallas, New Zealander by birth, UK resident, is the author of upwards of a dozen books of poems and translations. One of the poems in this collection, panning for gold at Fenian Creek, Oparara, New Zealand, was awarded the 2013 Portico Poetry Prize (Manchester, UK).

panning for gold at Fenian Creek, Oparara,

New Zealand

Patrick, the bush is empty and still.

If ghosts are thoughts then they are here.

The creek blinks with gold.

A fantail hither-whisks. It’s cold.

Who was the boy that was shot in his chair,

under his lovers’ exploding hearts ?

Jesus, return him to dreams.

Far away here the water gleams.

Patrick, I drop each flake down

into a little water-jar.

It falls heavy and slow.

Cree-cree goes the Tahou. I can’t go.

And I’ll go back to Tipperary,

and buy the dancehall over the shore,

and die in Dromineer,

and, save us God, not here, not here.

Patrick, the snow comes down like home

amongst the spars of manuka.

The creek is written with gold.

Just one more hour for luck. It’s cold.

I am gone so far as the world may be.

I live where the land is tangled and free.

We scribble over the cold cold sea.

I have grown a beard. Write to me.

Patrick, another flake falls down

into the little water-jar.

It falls heavy and slow.

Keer-keer goes the tui. I can't go.

© John Gallas 2014