Cork Oak Day


On the day, the leafy path you choose is,
you both agree, straight out of
classic children’s literature, and worthy
of every fecund adjective.

Dank, internal, wonderful, the air is big
with hush and broken twigs, the undergrowth
marvellously receptive
to crawling knees and flesh.

Even the cork oak twists out the ground
with a moist squeaking sound.
Between breathless swallows you, together,
mould the plastic stopper (tighter and less permeable).

Synthetics will be the way of the future.
You are both nervous but prepared, eager to kiss
to the long teenage years of rehearsal.

Stunned and spreading like a birth,
you pin yourselves against the cork oak’s
spongy arms, your flesh, like Christ’s,
absorbing everything.


Listen to James Brown read ‘Cork Oak Day


James Brown lives in Wellington with his partner and two children. After a year as the 2004 Writer in Residence at Victoria University, Wellington, he has resumed life as a freelance copy-editor/writer. His fourth collection of poems – The Year of the Bicycle – is coming along.