Ila Selwyn
New Zealand

all the world on our backs

i) wet-boot-feet  

  in the icy-stream
  our eyes caught
          by  flickering  flashes  

  we hungrily feel

  the smooth weight     

  in our hands   

  greedily fill our packs    

  discover the strain

  of carrying stones   


  the weightlessness

  of a poem

ii) the day was filled with

  silent stones

  wet silent stones

  that sang to me

beneath  the leap of the sun

black hooded figures  
stand silently  
faces turned from the sea  

dart to the drum-roll  
plant their beams  
in the searing sand  

the drum-roll starts   stops  
figures fly forward  
snap   plant   freeze  
fly   snap   plant   freeze   fly
fill up the grid between
the beat of a drum
the throb of a pulse    
in a ritual marriage  
of dark and light

flap on till a triangle
of dancing light
flickers in the black iron sand

the sun slowly sinks
into the sea 

the melon moon rises  
drifts towards the tide
black gulls swoop
along the sand  
leap on the lights
toss them to hands-held-high 

the melon moon drifts
towards the tide  
her foot fumbles
she falls into

the wild rising sea  

children shriek   

blackness descends

down-under distortions over the Manukau
(a poem in five parts)    

you are a frozen sheet
I want to put on my skates
skim over
your illusion

your far edge is tufted
with crisp white icing
bleaching to
a soft mauve

you are my ice queen
silent on the surface
lulling my

your suppressed 
like wild horses
my delusion


a huge gold
city lights
mirrors itself
on the broken
mud flats

colour leaches
size shrinks
to a hanging
ball of ice


you were the sage
of my Canadian
by a cherub
the south
in place

I need your
reach it
by hanging
upside down    


an egg
leans into
the sky
a faker
his magic
seas   shifts
my moods


a sickle
a hole
in the sky
a star
drops down
the cross forms
& Orion appears
on his head

the bach [a love poem]

we break in through
the back door
cobwebs cling
to our faces
our hands our hair
we feel our way
past an old wobbly loo
stumble down
a darkened hall

and catch our breath
we look long at the harbour
long in each other’s eyes
the land agent turns
politely away

the bach had sat
barely breathing
for half a year
we have waited
half a life-time


in late March we move in
outside the winds and rains
howl and slash  
queen wasps slip between
cracks in the walls  
fly drunkenly
round the ceiling  

I cling to Peter
rats scuttle and gnaw
under the floorboards 
possums scramble
over the tin roof
rasp my nerves


winter blasts our bach
its bones creak  
I shiver
Peter lights a fire
in the open grate
the heat shoots up the chimney

we throw a mattress
on the floor by the fire
make our own heat

Bio: Ila Selwyn
impatient & impetuous
loves to laugh luxuriates in the
scribbles ideas on paper
edges them onto her computer
leaves flutter out
words whole lines disappear
yield on a good day:   one small
nubile nugget