Susan Jacobs


Susan Jacobs lives in Auckland. She is the author of two non-fiction books (Penguin, 2003, 2012) about the Italian-New Zealand connection in WW2, and has worked as a lecturer, teacher, editor and book reviewer. She currently teaches ESOL to adults.

In my poems I try to express the power and, ultimately, emotional truth of experiences rooted in ordinary life. For me they can encompass love, loss, motherhood, relationships, friendship, living in Italy, the landscape, ageing and death.

Susan Jacobs


Frail traveller


Frail traveller, a gossamer thread

floats you between two worlds.


They say reality’s the cornflakes

you pour each morning into

your children’s bowls.


Inside your head you know better.

Shimmering auras and sonorous voices

propel the wings of your mind.


We see the heavy makeup and spiky heels –

sluttish and ravishing.


You laugh when men say how much

and take them home for a cup of tea.


Their features fade into the night

like the windswept chimes of a church bell

you hear somewhere



The Prodigal Father


Before you leave New Zealand for good,

we four eat pizza at Pane e Vino.


We’re in love again,

So nuclear we almost implode.


Years of accusations, of sullen absence

forgotten, forgiven?


Things’ll be different now you’re really leaving –

Distance measured in kilometres, not silence.


Our laughing daughters gesticulate, speak Italian.

You listen – affectionate, seductive –


I could fall for your dark charm again.

We bask in the amore


that resides like Vesuvius, ready to explode

And light up our world … then destroy it.