Holly Edgecombe

New Zealand


London then,
a childhood memory
cruisin’ in my buggy
down the busy city streets
impressions form of buildings
grey upon grey
pollution ridden taxis
belch out diesel
into the turgid atmosphere.

Kelp-like legs
wave around me
grey legs, black legs
pinstriped everyday legs
the urban population
spreads its sprawling tentacles
across the city pavements.

Looking up attainable
a rectangle of blue
a distant dream of the Antipodes
I scan the faces rushing past
eyes carefully averted.

In child bereft streets
I blaze the way
my flaming chariot
the girl in a bubble
seen yet unseen.

Bumping down the steps
into the concrete
graffiti covered subway
we hesitate
wait for a smiling face...over,

A helping hand
not forthcoming
I scale the twelve
mountainous steps
rail in one hand
my stick in the other.

mouse-like Londoners
scurry up and down
in plague proportions
refusing to acknowledge
this slow moving impediment
keeping a safe distance
between us.

On reaching the top
I gaze down
at my hand knitted
bright yellow socks
a trendy London black.

From distant years
I seize the moment
stride down the stairs
weapon at hand
in giant letters
I spray

On an imaginary concrete wall.

Last Journey

Who’ll pay
for death by suicide?
no questions asked of you

Who’ll pay
for grieving families?
two years free membership
for those you leave behind

after thirteen months
who’ll pay
for your last journey?

Have your credit card handy

The Way of a Whisper

    Does life begin with a whisper,
    a secret that’s shared between two?

Within a circle of lies a whisper is hiding.

On the strength of a whisper a head was lost.

Whispers are mail for a million ears

Louise’s fart whispered its way around the room
At the Bridge Club winter tournament.

DNA binds us with whispers to the past’s past.

The politicians provided the yarn
and the whisperers weaved their tales.

At night, within the Olive Grove
near the soldiers’ cemetery
whispers abound.

     Does life end with a whisper
     a nod and a wink from your God?

The old woman and her cake

Ms Elsie McVeigh took her plate with her cake
a sultana and hazelnut square,
she turned off the light, put out the cat
and climbed to the top of the stairs.

Ms Elsie McVeigh climbed up on her bed,
which was sited exceptionally high
by the use of a ladder, made by her father
and handily hanging nearby.

Ms Elsie Mcveigh stared out of the skylight
as shadows played over the walls
and all of a sudden, sleep claimed her unbidden
and the cake made its way to the floor.

In her dream, from her bed, Ms Elsie McVeigh
saw a girl in the sea, skirts held high,
as she waded in water, waves came up and
caught her and she let out a terrible cry.

Ms Elsie McVeigh looked around in a panic
her face was a pale milk-white “Help help”
she screamed loudly but nobody answered
for in truth not a soul was in sight.

Two figures appeared in the distance
and Elsie with dogged persistence
was off up the road, shoes pinching her toes
in search of some urgent assistance.

The brothers Eduardo and Michael,
were pushing their folding bi-cycle,
when up Elsie bounded snatched the bike
which she mounted without any sign of a fight.

Down the sand to the sea Elsie cycled,
chased by Eduardo and Michael,
as the water got higher.
she was fiercely inspired
to rescue the girl and revive her.

The forest of kelp was a wonder
which Elsie weaved over and under,
the girl in the skirt with her red spotted shirt,
floated out through the foam and the thunder.

Ms Elsie McVeigh beneath her duvet,
in her dream was regretting the fact,
that she’d chased in the water
some other fool’s daughter 
a truly impetuous act.

On the shore stood Eduardo and Michael,
who were worried about their bi-cycle,
they waved and they fussed
for they knew about rust.
and they thought they might have to re-cycle.

Now Elsie was stuck in the sand
and she turned the bike back to the land,
as she peddled to shore
something nipped and she saw,
a shark nibbling her toes and her hand.

Ms Elsie McVeigh woke up the next day
with horrible shake and a shiver,
when she opened her hand a toothpick lay there
and all that was left, was a slither.

There’s a rule in the house now of Elsie McVeigh,
which keeps her a little bit trimmer,
if you have to retire, in a bed that is higher,
then you never eat cake after dinner.

A summer Song

I gaze
hardly daring to breathe
at your half-shadowed face
eyes gently closed,
mouth - a new moon

could this be something
truly unique
all that is made / is re-made,
so they say

yet here I am
of your grief-filled life
and whatever part of it
that’s not quite revealed

if only we’d discovered
with truth comes distance
walk right in
the power of a lie

your body here, in my arms
and there
through the window
her song drifts across the bay

like two birds,
constantly migrating
one to warm, one to cold
the cycle goes on.

we live / we die
and a poor girl sings
her summer song

Lake Rotoiti

Have you ever known a place
where a Taniwha is hiding
managing to shelter
behind a stranger’s eyes
and a woman’s secret glance
within the witching hour
tells a very different tale
from her motherly disguise?

We lived in such a place

Have you ever known a place
where water shines before you
and the bush rolls down like curtains
surrounding you with green
yet underneath this beauty
there is a certain feeling
an edginess;
the strangest sense
of something not quite seen?

We lived in such a place

Have you ever known a place
where you feel completely helpless
and sickness can surround you
an impenetrable cage
and the fist-holes in the walls
though they’re papered now and plastered
still bear silent witness
to a former tenants rage?

We lived in such a place

Have you ever left a place
when you felt so numb and broken
yet all that you could see,
was the lightening of the sky?

We left such a place.