Michael Harlow’s Nothing For It But To Sing, the Kathleen Grattan Award for Poetry has just been published by Otago University Press. He has been awarded the Beatson Prize for poetry, and in 2014 the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for Distinguished Contribution to Poetry in NZ. He has published eleven books of poetry, two of which have been shortlisted for the National Book Awards. In collaboration with NZ-Suisse composer Kit Powell, as a librettist he has composed some thirteen Performance Works, many of which have been performed in Switzerland, Germany, France and New Zealand. He lives in Central Otago (NZ) and works as a writer, editor, and Jungian therapist.
When it was all over, they kept telling the same story
but a different one. He offered to turn up uninvited
to her funeral, wearing the same coloured red tie
he wore the night they decided to fall into each other’s
arms. She returned the compliment, telling him how
at his funeral she would be wearing the same coloured
blue blouse. The one that went flying the length
of his bedroom the same night of their steamy getting
How each was to the other one now, such a killjoy;
a real pain in the ass, he said. To top that she said,
he was a right royal pain in the ass, and you couldn’t
beat that, could you?
Their last letters to each other, arriving on the same
day, carried by a mutual friend, they agreed: that the end
would never be another beginning, and amen.
Well then, the friend said, you could say they were
such romanticides. Somehow, they had lost the courage
of tenderness. That’s just too big. And there’s no way
of analysing that to death, is there?