Some Things to Place in a Coffin

Hardboard & canvas, some leadhead nails. 
A blowtorch, a spray-gun, a grinder. 
A glass of pinot noir. 
A boat with a motor, a boat with sails, a boat with oars. 
France & Spain. 
Some Lorca, some lacquer. 
A fishing rod, a hammer. 
The dog Matiu. 
Timber & bricks. A Tiger Moth. 
Some rope, some sky, some ocean. 
The Stations of the Cross. 
A coil of number 8 wire. 
A slowness. A suddenness. A concentrating grunt. 
Vidyapati’s Song. 
Smoke & flags & banners. 
The far north. The deep south. 
A home-made home. 
Harbour Cone. 
The bishop, the knight, the rook. 
A black Union Jack. 
A circle, a line, a cross. 
Some words & numbers. 
Some corrugations. 
Nailed down with iron against the rain. 
Nailed down with rain. 
With daisies. 
With weather. 
With gold. 
With an old window-frame. 

Listen to Bill Manhire read ‘Some Things to Place in a Coffin’


Bill Manhire‘s poem first found its way into the world as a series of tweets in memory of Ralph Hotere, who died in February 2013. Bill notes: ‘Ralph’s pallbearers found his coffin surprisingly heavy, and there seemed to be some obvious reasons why.’

Bill Manhire’s Selected Poems are published by VUP in New Zealand, and by Carcanet in the UK.’