Runner Up: Poem by Tony Beyer

By – On December 05, 2018 – In News, Past Events, Poetry With Comments Off on Runner Up: Poem by Tony Beyer
Runner Up: Poem by Tony Beyer

The runner up of the Caselberg International Poetry Prize was Tony Beyer, with his poem ‘Full Measure’, which you can read below. Carolyn McCurdie of Dunedin kindly read Tony’s poem in his absence at our awards night on Thursday 29 November 2018.

FullĀ measure

they buried him with his mother’s people

whom he hadn’t seen since childhood

the best part of a century ago

but not having to shift to make room for him

they were as welcoming as ever


the wind that deposited grit

in the pitted parts of their gravestones

sang to him as well

of the bones of ancestors interred

in the soil of more distant islands


to his left a cousin of his grandfather’s

reposed under a snippet of Paul

as intellectual as religion got

among farmers horse fanciers

and founders of the nation’s railways


sequestered in another yard

the absent progenitor whose name

was hyphenated with a slur of surnames

paid for eternity in exile

the price of his spiritual curiosity


back in the approved dynastic plot

in dust at his feet three nieces lay

beheaded beneath a jack-knifed trailer

on the coast road driving their way

to an abruptly disbanded reunion


their names intertwined with flowers

on their monument are the names of flowers

recalling that descent too ceases with death

along with succession and breath

the prerequisites of inheritance


antidote to those who go about

with the suspicion that those in the cemetery

enjoyed the best of this land

its simpler rustic pleasures

its unquestioned entitlements

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