The poem

The poem

In the silence of the moment
a word - a word & the moment -
a word discovered
drawn from confusion

drawn from
the air that surrounds you
clouds that move over you:
thoughts not yet thoughts
a pin-point of light
becoming suddenly a spark
a flame, an incandescence -

is what happens
between midnight & morning
or at noon, in the evening,
waking, sleeping -
light, the dark:
the known, the unknown
the half-known ...

that stands in front of you
stands for weeks, months, years
rivers, mountains, flat places
closed places, open spaces -
forgotten places

what’s seen & not seen
heard or not heard
is yet to be said
will be said
insists it be said
must be said - the poem.


‘The poem’, first published in Poetry New Zealand, No. 9 (Brick Row Publishing, 1994), © Alistair Paterson 1994, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 2004.

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Books by Alistair Paterson