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Valentine Williams
United Kingdom

Four Steps To Standing on a Horse - Penny Howard - 2014
Author and poet in UK. Son lives in Auckland. The two submitted poems are from an unpublished collection titled "Shark Wrestling for Beginners".



A reason to be there, I suppose,
casting a line for snappers,
the swell rising and retreating at our feet.
Three seagulls came to watch,
crowning the rock.

The sea slopped on the ledge
and gannets stole the bait
we cast far out, into deep water,
to keep ourselves from talking
about us.

You stood beside me
facing the wildness of this southern sea
both of us hoping
nothing was on the line,
no fish to kill, no hook to disengage.

I keep a picture in my mind:
a rock, three seagulls, you.


I think I lost you – maybe you lost me-
somewhere along the way to Murchison.
And you were driving, face like covered stone.
And I remember
pain, and the winding road,
with Cohen on the player, mournful,
and sandflies biting both our sandaled feet
along the river down to Murchison.

Stopping, you dabbed on Deet while I
tried the old hippy remedy
of oil and Dettol, laced with citronella.
It seemed appropriate.

In Murchison
the river road divided,
and you were for the hills, while I
favoured another route towards the coast.
But in the coffee shop
you wouldn’t meet my eyes
and so we stopped the night outside the town.

When morning came you journeyed on.
I stood beside the road and watched you go,
knowing our paths divided long before
you chose your route and we arrived
in Murchison, where I stand now.

How shall I travel on from here
seeking the sea and seeing only hills?
The wind and I are cold.
But where love ends,
another journey starts,
from Murchison, as I leave now.