Anthology of Twentieth Century New Zealand Poetry

‘Happy Birthday Jenny’
and the anonymity of
penciled thoughts
in the margin

1970: ‘man was immortal’,

they say

71: ‘everything that takes place in time
also takes place in eternity’

Seventeen today
And you’re all grown up,

Baxter (James K) in the pocket
‘Elegy for an Unknown Soldier’ on your lips
As if that proves it

Another year older
(another year wiser?)

‘I too have destroyed a city’
you declare, defiantly
defacing the margins
in your practiced, penciled scrawl
so sure
so assured.

Later, flicking through Dallas, through Ireland, through Stead,
You wonder what it feels like to die

morbid?
inevitable? Perhaps,
But for now, forever seems a long way off.

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