Sing them

Because I need to sew me 
a composer and knit me 
a singer who will wrap me 
in the sounds of the words. 

Because in this house I hear 
sparrows in the fan palm and tui that 
hang out in pink camellia flowers but 
these voices have no words. 

Because we lived with their questions 
when our mothers sang to us, 
Who is Sylvia, what is she? 
When our mothers sang 
the words became us 
and the songs became us. 
Where have you been 
all the day, Billie Boy, Billie Boy? 

Because this was a congealed 
day at the cold leftover end 
of the rind of winter but when 
you said you’d sing the poems, 
they put on their warm clothes 
and went out walking. 

Because every day the poems 
stay folded and pressed flat in 
the suitcase of their pages 
till the composer unfolds 
them in sound lines and when you 
sing, they float. 



Nelson writer Rachel Bush has been published in periodicals such as SportLandfallThe Listener and in Faber’s Introduction. She is the author of three books of poetry.’Sing them’ was written before beginning a project in which she wil work with composer Gillian Whitehead and Dunedin-based singer, Amanda Cole.