Lauris Edmond did not publish her first book of poems until she was 51, after years as a wife and mother. But she quickly established a strong reputation for her poetry, assisted by her autobiographical trilogy which won her a considerable following. Her poems dealt honestly with closely personal matters of life, death and family. A good example is the first three verses of 'The names', in which Edmond muses on the names of her children:
Six o'clock, the morning still and
the moon up, cool profile of the night;
time small and flat as an envelope –
see, you slip out easily: do I know you?
Your names have still their old power,
they sing softly like voices across water.
Virginia Frances Martin Rachel Stephanie
Katherine – the sounds blend and chant
in some closed chamber of the ear, poised
in the early air before echoes formed.
Suddenly a door flies open, the music
breaks into a roar, it is everywhere;
now it's laughter and screaming, the crack
of a branch in the plum tree, the gasping
and blood on the ground; it is sea-surge
and summer, 'Watch me!' sucked under
the breakers; the hum of the lupins, through
sleepy popping of pods the saying of names.
(Jane Stafford and Mark Williams, eds., The Auckland University Press anthology of New Zealand literature. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2012, p. 759)
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
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Photograph by Robert Cross
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