Monday, February 28, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Epicentre by Jennifer Compton


I woke up dazed
some taniwha had risen
underneath my bed
straight up from

the centre of the earth
and humped like
a green horse
first time under the saddle.

Then the noise
a peremptory growl
travelling away from me
as swiftly as a train.

How unusual and strange.
I couldn't write a poem
for every earthquake
I have lived through

they all have their little quirks
but every other one had rumbled
towards me, done its worst
shivered, rippled, shook

then galloped away.
The house and I settled
down, drew our breath
and the earth turned.

I have been a bit knocked about emotionally by this new earthquake in Christchurch which has caused so much damage and suffering. So I hadn't sorted out my Tuesday poem. Then I remembered the only poem I have written about an earthquake. Because I was born in Wellington I have been through lots of them. But nothing major. I'm lucky. I thought of this poem because I have a friend who lives in Lyttleton which was the epicentre. So my only epicentre experience came to mind. It was in Martinborough, actually.  


  1. Nicely done.
    I've been through lots in Wellington too, none of them were anything like this latest one (or September 4th, for that matter).

  2. Earthquake as metaphor for the process of writing a poem...well done!

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