richard pierce

richard pierce

25 February 2011

Alexandra's 10th birthday poem


Today, I met a travelling man, and walked
With him through one of the world’s largest
Cities. His home town lies in ruins, and his
Family have fled to the mountains, to live
From rain water and the power of the sun.

We spoke of our lives, and our need to
Always move on, and of the understanding
That comes with age, of what matters most.

The answer, he said, is with those we love,
And I agreed. The answer, we said, is at home,
With our families, our children, our loves.
We watched the sun make a circle and
Fall below the horizon of high buildings

And I came back to you, for you,
To celebrate your ten years of living,
As he will fly back to his,
To celebrate being alive.

4 February 2011

Save Stradbroke Library

As part of the National Day of Action to Save Libraries, there will be a read-in at Stradbroke Library tomorrow, 5th February, at 10 a.m.. This is one of the things I'll be reading, adapted from a 2007 poem of mine called why i love poetry.

why i love libraries

because words bound and wrapped
on pages of many colours
sing new voices

because one borrowed book
can be better than thousands
of bought ones

because reading beats hearing
when the words make
their own meaning inside me

because small words can change big things

because the wind and the rain
and love and hate and fear
and tragedy and joy

because the world outside
is so huge and round

because inside each story
there is true greatness
and great truth

because words are the warmth of life

because these sanctuaries
are gateways to the gods
our one chance at wisdom

because faith is a promise
regardless of belief

because each book is
a life-time on its own
a summary of all we can

Cape Evans Centenary

Robert Falcon Scott and his party of thirty landed at Cape Evans on Ross Island on the 4th of January 1911. To mark this centenary, I am posting a poem from my poetry collection K175 - Antarctic Fragments, which will be published on 29th March 2012, the centenary of Scott's death.

Campsite at Cape Evans

The bushman and I drop down onto the scoria,
in the lee of the wind, dig a hole with our hands
for the metal bowl, and light our cigarettes.
We look out across the ice, eyes shaded against
the hue and sun of the Antarctic night, and
shout our swapped stories into the gale that grabs
at us despite our shelter; talk of home and family.

His hands are brown, coloured by toil and climate,
sinuous as the wood he works. For many years
he has been rescuing history from the strife of time,
rebuilding travellers’ huts around the edges of this
continent. Each one different, he says, for each has
its own spirits, its restless ghosts, its faithful souls;
a presence shaped by suffering and sacrifice.

Human courage and determination has left its sweat
in each grain of wood, its grime on every particle
that dances on the sun’s music inside these places,
an exuberance beyond the achievement of construction,
over and above the intricacies of engineering, the
carpenter tells me, his face alight with reverence.
We are the servants of history, lucky to be here.

The bushman and I take a drink while we smoke
our next. The Transantarctic Mountains watch our
conversation from across the sea ice, see our breath
rise above the tops of our tents, wash away towards
the mainland and scatter. Behind us, Erebus smokes,
too, his plume rising to meet the clouds that gather
around his crown to create the coming blizzard.

We fall silent, awed by nature’s brutal scale. This
is now no place for voices. Seals scatter from some
unseen tremor they mistake for a hunting orca. The
penguins race for the safety of the icy bluff. And
then nothing. The seals burrow back down into the
snow and the penguins dive into the pool exposed
in the breaking ice. Cape Evans is at peace again.