Monday, June 20, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Strangers by Laurice Gilbert


Inge said
I have no family

Aah! we said,
how wonderful

No, she said
think about it

If I never send another Christmas card
no-one will complain

and I have no obligation ever
to write another letter

Sounds delicious we said
how can we achieve this?

No, think about it she said
I travel the world alone

Yes? we said
so far so good

And no-one to inform if my plane should crash
or I should get lost at sea

or I should have a heart attack
in a cheap hotel of my own choosing

Sounds liberating we said
how free you are

No, she said

I noticed this acerbic, and charming, poem when it was published in Bravado after being awarded
second prize in their competition. It's like a paper cut, you feel a little sting and then suddenly you
are gushing blood. It's a little bit of perfect. I love the judicious use of punctuation, especially the
final lack of it. It makes the poem zoom out.

Laurice Gilbert lives in Wellington and is the President of the NZ Poetry Society.


  1. Thanks for sharing this Jennifer - I love how it captures that 'can't live with them, can't live without them' family thing.

  2. Thanks Jen - I like dialogue poems and it's good to read a Laurice poem - I love the way you describe it as paper cuts...