In this episode of 'Poem of the Week' Bill Manhire reads 'Indexing Emily'. ABR Editor, Peter Rose, introduces Bill who then reads and discusses his poem.
The dead gaze back across their special days:
cloud above clover, crisis above the crow ...
Such new horizons, yet they still approach.
They know how eclipse and ecstacy edge along together:
whisper and wink of wind, but no real weather.
Between practice and prayer there's always praise.
Mist and mistakes are in the text.
And now here's the night – nobody's next – and poetry
falls from the crucifixion like a crumb, and belief
needs bells, needs bereavement. Bothersome.
Now a feather falls towards March
somehow recalling the snake above the snow.
Everything slows. All those ships
anticipating shipwreck: frigate, little boat.
Brain almost touching the bride. Sweet anecdote.
Can the simple be simplified? Our riches
ride on a riddle: rapture and rainbow
and remaining time. And now all the columns
of Love appear. No word of reproof, no sign
of rage. Love is like Death: it needs to turn the page.
Bill Manhire was New Zealand's inaugural Poet Laureate. He founded the well-known creative writing programme at Victoria University of Wellington. His most recent books are a collection of short fiction, The Stories of Bill Manhire (VUP, 2015), and a Selected Poems. He has also been writing songs with the jazz musician Norman Meehan.