Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fault by Joanna Preston

A mistake. An error of judgement. A penalty
brought against a quiet city. Stroll
through the park, lunchtime almost over.
A defect, a small disappointment. A summer day
laden with clouds, grey light that softens the walls,
the stone and brick, the glass. Less
than expected. Someone to blame. A sparrow
rests lightly on the hand of a statue. A weakness
in the system, communications break down.
A telephone rings into silence. A refusal. Dispraise, dis-
continuity, lateral displacement. A woman
leaves a cafe, checks both ways, crosses the street.
An unthought response. A vice. Students
repeating the phrases – Good Morning, Good Evening, Good
-bye. It is nine o’clock, it is ten to eleven. The time
is twelve fifty-one.


First published in Landfall. Reprinted with permission of the author.

                                       Editor: Catherine Fitchett

This week sees the second anniversary of the New Zealand earthquake of February 22nd, 2011 which caused so much devastation in Christchurch. It seemed appropriate therefore to post this poem, which I will allow to speak for itself.

Joanna Preston
Joanna Preston is a 'Tasmanaut' (her word for an Australian who crosses the Tasman Sea to live in NZ). She is also a poet, editor, and freelance creative writing teacher, whose first collection, The Summer King (Otago University Press, 2009), won both the inaugural Kathleen Grattan Award for poetry, and the 2010 Mary Gilmore Poetry Prize. She blogs on A Dark Feathered Art, and lives in Canterbury with an overgrown garden, a flock of chooks, and a Very Understanding Husband.

Once you've read Fault - turn to the left hand sidebar and check out the other Tuesday Poem posts. The poets come from all over: NZ, Australia, the UK and US. 

This week's editor, Catherine Fitchett, also lives in Canterbury where she works with numbers by day and plays with words in the evenings and weekends. She has had work published in various anthologies and journals including Takahe, JAAM and the Christchurch Press and blogs here. She has a keen interest in genealogy and hopes to complete writing a family history or two this year.

11 comments:

Poems and Poetry said...

Great poem, I appreciate the sense of place and time, what has and is transpiring and the play on fault.

Keith Westwater said...

A great quake poem and thanks Catherine for posting this week when the second anniversary of the Feb 22 earthquake falls.

Ben Hur said...

I like this poem and the way it hints at things and builds to a poignant ending.

Helen Rickerby said...

I love this poem. I've read it before on Joanna's own blog, and it stayed with me for ages. I love how controlled but nervous the poem is. How it's made up of little brick phrases that are holding together, but only just - they could fly apart or collapse at any point. It's really powerful. Thanks for sharing this.

Harvey Molloy said...

A great poem--wonderful balance and metre. I enjoy how she writes for the ear as well as the intellect.

Mary McCallum said...

I've kept coming back to Fault all week and intend to read it again tomorrow on the anniversary. I like what Helen R says about it - the way the poem is controlled but nervous. I find powerful the echoes of the word 'fault' in all its guises which evokes a medieval feeling that wrongdoing by the local population could explain such wrath ... Or - less biblical - that all the small wrongs and disappointments in a city could gather to one large fault.... And we still see it don't we? The people of Christchurch still suffering from the Quake two years on and the cry that goes out (up?), 'why us?' My heart goes out to them all. Thank you for this poem this week - Joanna and Catherine.

Michelle Elvy said...

I like the fragility of the connections in here, and that middle point when the sparrow lands. Amazing detail and balance in this. Wonderful poem to feature this week. Must share and share... thank you.

Helen McKinlay said...

Thanks for posting that this week Catherine.
Great to see Joanna on the hub page.

Gerry Snape said...

wonderful sense of waiting for something to happen. thankyou for reposting it.

Shalini Samuel said...

lovely do visit back to chck my poems

jane said...

she's so right, she knows exactly how to say everything!