Tuesday, January 27, 2015

matthew 11:28-30 by Hamish Petersen


Job. He wrote, “Why did I not perish at birth?”
“Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter
of soul?”
and I ask why He gave me breath and life.
“But man dies and is laid low”
“At least there is hope for a tree”


Tell me about light and life.
The same light that hides
That light seen but not touched
and like punching under water
leaves a thirst.
That life which leaves me, my soul back broke. Like I’m struck
at the ankle - left inch deep, unmoving, maybe shaking
shuddering. and then you can kick me.


Jesus told me his burden was light.

As he hung from it, hands pierced, thorns through the scalp,
he tells Matthew “my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.

Someone else told me it’s hard to keep your head up in the
You’re my rain and I’m looking for a thumb because my jaw is
Heavy with your eyes,
But heavy with your blindness
Heavy with your expectations that I will become what I am
meant to be
But still that I am nothing.

Jesus also told me that the spirit is willing but the body is
So what I say here means nothing If I don’t carry the yoke of
these words.

His burden was a hole in each hand, a crown on the head
and a tomb.

So if he could carry his yoke

I don’t need that thumb.
I can carry mine.

Posted with the permission of the poet
Editor this week: Andrew M. Bell

Hamish Petersen is a young poet whom I saw and heard reading as a Guest Reader at the Canterbury Poets Collective Spring Reading season 2014. I was immediately struck by the forcefulness, passion and conviction that Hamish conveyed when reading his work. Hamish is definitely a poet whose style is rooted in the oral tradition of poetry and his poetry possesses a potent extra dimension when read aloud.

When I watched him reading his work, I was fascinated by the way he really "inhabited" the poem so that he drew the audience in until they were tightly focused on his words, following him closely, almost like they were the poet's pillion passengers.

Although Hamish is a young poet with much life experience ahead of him, I feel that he has already forged a fairly mature voice which he applies to subject matter which is not easily pigeonholed.

In the poem above, I enjoy how Hamish uses punctuation in an unusual fashion so that it catches the reader off guard and often works in arresting interplay with the imagery. Some of Hamish's imagery catches me unawares, surprises me, and I love that. I keep returning again and again to that wonderful triplet in the second stanza: "That light seen but not touched/and like punching under water/leaves a thirst."

Hamish Petersen is still staking out the ground on his poetic journey, but I think he shows great promise and that we will be hearing a lot more from him in the future.

Hamish Petersen, the runner-up in the 2012 CETA Poetry Slam, has performed his poetry at the Pallet Pavillion Mid-Winter Market in Christchurch in 2013 and was a Guest Reader in the Canterbury Poets Collective Readers Series Spring 2014. Hamish also self-published a 20-page Chapbook of his poetry in 2013, entitled i am not a poet.

This week’s editor, Andrew M. Bell, writes poetry, short fiction, plays, screenplays and non-fiction. His work has been published and broadcast in New Zealand/Aotearoa, Australia, England, Israel and USA. His most recent publication is Green Gecko Dreaming, a poetry collection. Andrew lives in Christchurch and loves to surf. Some of Andrew’s poetry can be read at Bigger Than Ben Hur. His website is: www.biggerthanbenhurproductions.com

Please see the sidebar to the left for other Tuesday Poets' contributions this week. 


Helen Lowe said...

I also enjoyed Hamish's reading during the CPC Spring series and was impressed by the power and accomplishment of his poetry.

Thank you for featuring him here today, Andrew.

Michelle Elvy said...

Thanks for sharing this poet, Andrew. Sounds like someone to watch for in a live venue!

Penelope said...

The word 'inhabiting' a poem seems right; no easy division between the word and the body, or the voice and the words which are spoken. When it happens it seems to be a moment outside time. I have seen a few poets who move beyond performance into something almost uncanny. Or sacred.

I like this poem a lot. Thank you for posting, Andrew.

Cattyrox said...

I second Penelope - I like this poem a lot, there's a real tension in it between the source material and the speaker. I really like that!