in a hollow log?
Why put my lips to a knothole in a tree
and whisper your name?
The spiders spread their nets
and catch the sun,
and by my foot in the dry grass
ants rebuild a broken city.
Butterflies pair in the wind,
and the yellow bee,
his holsters packed with bread,
rides the blue air like a drunken cowboy.
More and more I find myself
talking to the sea.
I am alone with my footsteps.
I watch the tide recede
and I am left with miles of shining sand.
Why don't you talk to me?
Editor: Tim Jones
"Why Don't You Talk To Me?", written in 1965, has all these qualities, plus a cunning indirection. For much of the poem, the central question is present only by implication: the natural world makes its customary arrangements all around me, yet I am separate; why don't you talk to me? This poem says all that needs to be said, and no more.
For more information about Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, see his Wikipedia and New Zealand Book Council pages and his obituary in The Guardian.
|Alistair Te Ariki Campbell|
Published in Alistair Campbell, Kapiti: Selected Poems 1947-71, and reprinted in Harvey McQueen, ed., These I Have Loved (Steele Roberts, 2010). Reproduced as a Tuesday Poem by kind permission of Alistair Te Ariki Campbell's literary executor.
Tim Jones is a poet, author, editor and blogger. His latest book is his third poetry collection, Men Briefly Explained. His short story "The New Neighbours" has been included in the recently-published anthology The Apex Book of World SF 2. For more on Tim and his writing, please see his blog Books in the Trees.
Once you have read "Why Don't You Talk To Me?", please take the opportunity to read the poems which the individual Tuesday Poets have posted on their blogs. You'll see them linked from the sidebar at the left of this page.