Sunday, August 9, 2009


One of the reasons I like Brian Turners poetry is because it holds up a mirror to something that he loves, i.e. the braided rivers of the South Island, the back country and trout fishing. He loves these things in the same way that I love sailing and the sea. It is the passion and the love that I identify with as well as the landscape that I am familiar with. His identification with his passion somehow becomes a sounding box and a comparison for my own passion. He uses his poetry to celebrate this love he feels and also as metaphors for life itself - Again I identify with all of this within the context of my own passion of sailing - but there is something else about all this, something deeper, something about love itself, whether this love be of a hobby/interest or of a person - authentic love fully embraced and lived breaks through into something timeless, something beyond language. You live it, you are speechless before it, your eyes gleam, there is a deep resonance of meaning and wonder - braided rivers, fishing, sailing, the ocean, love itself, a source of wonder and symbolic of something beyond ourselves.

In this poem Brian Turner is talking about a time we all have in our lives, a time of crossroads, a time of change and again his beloved rivers provide the perfect metaphor.


The river's not so solitary
the way you're turning out to be

and maybe it's better at life.
You've been walking

down by the river, you've
been talking to the wide river,

you've been observing
the rivers of sky in the river

running by, and bye and bye
is what time says to you

and the river is sliding by
sly as sly. And when you

step in the river and go
to cross to the other side

you pause half way
and the water piles high

against your thigh
as you wonder whether

to go forward or back,
where you've been, what you had.

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