Brian Turner


The barn roof needs painting

and the spouting is ruined.

Likewise the roof of this house

in which we live, borer here,

rot there. I’m neither handy

in the great Kiwi DIY tradition,

nor monied, which rather leaves

us up shit creek without a shovel.

I grub to find what Stevens called

the ‘plain sense of things’

and come up empty-handed

more often than not, but

I’m a dab-hand at recognising,

if not suppressing, self-pity,

and I can back a trailer

expertly, so all is not lost.

Best New Zealand Poems 2001

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