Best New Zealand Poems 2002
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Gotland, Midsummer

July is when the fingers
of evening and morning touch
under the blanket of night

and the straw-headed children
of the children of the Vikings
go nearly naked into

the nearly saltless Baltic.
They find wild strawberries
among grass at a wood’s edge

and thread them on a stalk
to be eaten after herrings
with coffee black as tide wrack.

Thatch is spiked against witches
and tumbled stones remember
an invasion of Danes.

This island of ruined churches,
abandoned farms and windmills
is Stockholm’s secret playground

where Lars Ardelius built
his theatre in a barn
and every summer’s drama

opened like a wildflower
attended at the wayside
by butterflies and moths.

No record, no reviewers –
such stuff only as dreams are
made on, rounded by a sleep.


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