Vincent O’Sullivan

Vincent O’Sullivan is a fiction writer, poet, biographer, dramatist, and critic. His new opera with composer Ross Harris, Brass Poppies, will be on at the next NZ Arts Festival, and a new collection of poems out from VUP early next year. He was New Zealand Poet Laureate 2013-2015, and is the Guest Poet for takahē 85.


The apple trees in the paddock open like Japanese
nightclubs, as a girl might think them
who saw the trailers for a TV series that was
then switched off, more beautiful than if
she remembered them exactly.
We have a song
about apple-blossom we like especially,
the kind of song that raises bright things
brighter, the way the girl fancied her blossom
nightclubs as temples as well.
This, we tell her,
is sentimental: which means dozens of small
bells tinkle whatever it is – a painted sledge, say,
a Victorian coach with a fat man reading
Dickens, not quite arrived, though the evening’s
already falling, but we hear it, we hear it
almost here, and the woman who lives
with the man at the edge of the forest
and the door into whatever room seems choicest
for those about to arrive, what’s she up to
when the place is ringing with so much yet to be
done? She’s arranging spires of blossom in
a tall blue vase, that’s what.

T85Cover small

First published
takahē 85
December 2015