Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tryst by Sue Wootton

Museum of Modern Art, New York

She leans several angles at once, is all planes of Picasso,
tilting. How will she stand, her six-sided shins,
her five-walled thighs? How will she talk, one lip a cylinder
and one a box? Her tongue is a skewed guitar;
her three unblinking eyes dropped bombs, falling. He
is a handsome proportion of blue, was mixed on a Matisse palette
and is gaze upon gaze from his frame a window
onto all astoundingness, such blue truth. So he comes to her
who is all quaked scaffolding, shifted. Like sapphire,
cobalt ink, like tide, like midnight over Lapland in July,

like withheld rain is how he comes to her, and takes
her fractured fingers in his blue kiss. Now they spend their small hours
in the waterlilies, wading from one end of the triptych to the other, through
blurred and purpled Monet-water, setting the cerises rocking, rocking.                                                                                                                                                        

Sue Wootton is a Dunedin-based poet who chose some years ago to set down her busy physiotherapy and acupuncture practice in order to write full-time. Sue's poetry and fiction have been widely published in journals and anthologies. She has won several awards for her writing, including both fiction and poetry prizes at the 2006 Aoraki Literary Festival, and first place in the 2007 Inverawe (Tasmania) poetry competition. One of her poems appears in Best New Zealand Poetry 2004. In 2008 Sue held the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago. Recently she was invited to read at the 2010 International Festival de Poesia, in Granada, Nicaragua. Her two collections of poetry are Magnetic South and Hourglass, both published by Steele Roberts Ltd. Some of her work has been translated into, and published in, Spanish, Hungarian and Romanian.

A children’s storybook, Cloudcatcher is to be published by Steele Roberts in mid-2010.

The poem Tryst had its genesis in a visit to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, where three powerful paintings (Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Monet’s The Waterlilies and Matisse’s Blue Window) were sharing a space. Tryst was highly commended in the Bravado International Poetry Competition 2007, and published in Bravado 11.

Other links you will enjoy - Best New Zealand Poems 2004 and Permission to Play (an interview with Rhys Brookbanks).

Tryst is reproduced on Tuesday Poem with permission from the author.

Claire Beynon is this week's Tuesday Poem editor. South African-born, she immigrated to New Zealand in 1994 and in 1999 was granted citizenship in this country. The lancewood sapling given to her at the citizenship ceremony is now a sturdy tree thriving in her Dunedin garden. Claire is a visual artist and writer of poetry and short stories. Visit her Tuesday Poem and others by the Tuesday Poets.


melissashook said...

oh lovely five walled thighs and the handsome proportion of blue.
Thank you, Sue Wootton
and Claire Beynon

Kay Cooke said...

I love this poem - and really enjoyed hearing Sue read it at the readings last Wednesday in Dunedin.
I'm sure it's a poem that will travel far - and deserves to.

Melissa Green said...

Oh, my, this is gorgeous "Like withheld rain is how he comes to her" I'd give anything to have written this or thought of:

'in the water lilies, wading from one end of the triptych to the other, through/blurred and purpled Monet-water, setting the cerises rocking, rocking.

Really stunning, Sue. Thanks, Claire

Mary McCallum said...

Oh! The language of colour here, of shapes, and of love. Divine.

Pam Morrison said...

Woohoo Sue Woo, you have written another spectacularly gorgeous poem. I love this, and am sorry to have missed you reading it aloud. Another time I hope. Pam x

Helen Rickerby said...

Lovely, thanks Claire, and Sue

Penelope said...

Astonishing, yes, thank you, Sue and Claire.

Mary McCallum said...

I bought Sue's book today - MAGNETIC SOUTH. So many times I've seen it on the shelf at the bookshop but only picked it up because I'd read the poem here. It looks to be packed with marvellous stuff.