Friday, February 19, 2010

Thoughts on Time, a poem by Allen Curnow.

Post 431 - Allen Curnow (1911– 2001), one of New Zealand's major modern poets, was born in Timaru on the South island where his father was an Anglican clergyman. He was educated at the universities of Canterbury and Auckland before preparing for the Anglican ministry at St John’s Theological College where he eventually decided not to be ordained. He subsequently worked as a journalist for the Christchurch Sun and then taught English at Auckland University. His early works reflect the influence of his study for the Anglican ministry, as well as his childhood experiences. His later work demonstrates his ties to the New Zealand landscape and “the sense of isolation experienced by one who lives in an island colony.” Curnow’s received the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry on six occasions, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize in 1988, a Cholmondley Award in 1992, and in 1989 was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. He was made a CBE in 1986 and received the Order of New Zealand in 1990.

Thoughts on Time by Allen Curnow.

I am the nor'west air nosing among the pines
I am the water-race and the rust on railway lines
I am the mileage recorded on yellow signs.

I am dust, I am distance, I am lupins back of the beach
I am the sums sole-charge teachers teach
I am cows called to milking and the magpie's screech,

I am nine o'clock in the morning when the office is clean
I am the slap of the belting and the smell of the machine
I am the place in the park where the lovers are seen.

I am recurrent music the children hear
I am level noises in the remembering ear
I am the sawmill and the passionate second gear.

I, Time, am all these, yet these exist
Among my mountainous fabrics like a mist,
So do they the measurable world resist.

I, Time, call down, condense, confer,
On the willing memory the shapes these were:
I, more than your conscious carrier,

Am island, am sea, am father, farm, and friend,
Though I am here all things my coming attend;
I am, you have heard it, the Beginning and the End.

No comments: