Story: Poetry

Lauris Edmond (3rd of 4)

Lauris Edmond

Lauris Edmond did not publish her first book of poems until she was 51, after years as a wife and mother. But she quickly established a strong reputation for her poetry, assisted by her autobiographical trilogy which won her a considerable following. Her poems dealt honestly with closely personal matters of life, death and family. A good example is the first three verses of 'The names', in which Edmond muses on the names of her children:

Six o'clock, the morning still and
the moon up, cool profile of the night;
time small and flat as an envelope –
see, you slip out easily: do I know you?
Your names have still their old power,
they sing softly like voices across water.
Virginia Frances Martin Rachel Stephanie
Katherine – the sounds blend and chant
in some closed chamber of the ear, poised
in the early air before echoes formed.
Suddenly a door flies open, the music
breaks into a roar, it is everywhere;
now it's laughter and screaming, the crack
of a branch in the plum tree, the gasping
and blood on the ground; it is sea-surge
and summer, 'Watch me!' sucked under
the breakers; the hum of the lupins, through
sleepy popping of pods the saying of names.
(Jane Stafford and Mark Williams, eds., The Auckland University Press anthology of New Zealand literature. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2012, p. 759)
Using this item

Robert Cross Photography
Photograph by Robert Cross

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

John Newton, 'Poetry - The 1970s and the ‘Freed’ generation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 May 2024)

Story by John Newton, published 22 Oct 2014