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Article  •  25 October 2017

 

Short story club - 14 December

Read the poem being discussed on Jesse Mulligan’s show on Radio New Zealand on 14 December 2017

DIANE BROWN

Gannets

 

‘Would you say we have

an equal relationship?’ I ask

on the drive back from Muriwai

 

where we had stood

for twenty silent minutes

watching the gannets land.

 

‘No,’ he says. ‘I think I have

the upper hand, being particularly

careful not to give ground.’

 

‘So you see me as a threat?’

He doesn’t answer, as if

he intends ensuring control

 

with a minimum of dialogue

like the flapping wings

and warning cries of the gannets:

 

the oldest claiming the choice

(more sheltered) flat rock in the middle

while the young scrabble for places

on the outer circle. They could choose

another rock of course. It’s only

their need for belonging

 

that keeps them clinging to the margin.

 

‘Gannets’ © Diane Brown

This poem was first published in a collection of poetry by Diane Brown, Learning to Lie Together, Godwit, 2004, and recently in the anthology Bird Words, edited by Elisabeth Easther, Vintage, 2017.

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