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Kit Willett – Death

Profile Willett LEP&W ANZ May 2021

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2021
Special edition featuring poets from Australia & New Zealand.

Kit Willett is an Auckland-based English teacher, poet, and executive editor of the New Zealand poetry journal Tarot. His first poetry collection, The Dying of the Light, responds to treating Milton’s Paradise Lost as a sacred text, exploring themes of ecofeminism and postcolonialism in the epic narrative, and is planned for release in 2021. More at kitwillett.tarotpoetry.nz


Death

enters the world to dine and sup. Slowly—
steadily—with no need to gorge or glut. She takes
the refuse out. She keeps the glimmer on the water-top,
milks the toxins—gone. She has an energy—calm
and constant—when you get to know her, but—oh dear!
She is not the kind of girl to bring home to the family. She is wild.

Now is the time for the earth to rest—to take a year
of Jubilee. She stops that damned decay from spreading
its roots, and instead begins a process of renewal.
She is a welcome friend after all this turmoil—
she is a hellhound of God, and when she follows
you everywhere, that is God saying you are loved.

Death is becoming Mother Nature—trees grow around
her as she paces. Soft rabbits parade around her throne
before they wither back to the ground. She sucks the water
from flowers and watches them wilt.


Before the Mountain

As I watch, the powerlines are spaghetti
being steamed, gradually gaining limpness,
losing their solidity. The birds freeze
in picture-perfect poses.

The dirt path snakes around the lake,
reflecting the oranges and pinks
and purples of above. The sun
does not like to be seen.

She has slunk behind the mountain,
but her light appears in the house
windows, disguised as fire
or fluorescent bulbs. There are no stars,

but the planets and the planes shift
across the sky at different speeds.
One day, the tiny white and pastel purple
flowers will be plucked and tossed,

and they too will fly. But in the meantime,
I watch the cables sag with duty, sending
pleasant sounds and warm messages
as they sit planted in the cold, listening only for the wind.


A Picnic

Of all the experiences I have had, I have never stood in a field of lavender
with rows and rows of the stuff, and great clumps of dry grass between them.

I have never gazed at a perfect sky. I have never stood in such a field,
with a lone peach tree on top of the hill, straining to escape the earth.

I have never marched unceasing towards that peach tree,
treading on lavender and wild chamomile with bare feet.

A walk to collect fruit has never been a trudge through thick fragrance.
No smell could ever remind me of my ex-wife’s bitter perfume.

I have never seen tulips—brushed, pastel tulips—tenderly painted tulips—
growing at the base of that tree. And I have never tasted a sour peach.


© Kit Willett