Penguins are the monks of ice


penguins are the monks of ice 
their bodies tabernacles 
of the body and blood of chicks 
other lives are closed to them 

under the net of moons 
they keep chanting words for home 
their stillness is movement 
their feathers the cloth of saints 

if a penguin stops thinking 
about his egg it rolls away 
and you can hear the ice 

in the amniotic fluid 
the air sac the yolk 
fiercely converting the chick 
to a tiny cup of bone 

and all this time the wind 
the sound of a playground 
watched by hawks 


The loco parentis


the turbines keep an eye
on my parents

they chant around their grave
like monks in a friary

the air so sacred
I never worry

about leaving them
in a cemetery

in spring the turbine blades
disperse airborne spores

and moss who never even
knew my parents

shields their headstone
with furry green arms

even now though whenever
there’s strong wind warnings

I cannot help praying
the turbines will yield

the energy to renew
my parents to bring them back home



Kerrin P. Sharpe’s first book three days in a wishing well was published by Victoria University Press in 2012. A group of her poems appeared in 2013 in the UK publication Oxford Poets 13 (Carcanet). A second book there’s a medical name for thiswas published by Victoria University Press in 2014. She has just completed her third collection of poems, rabbit rabbit, with the assistance of a Creative New Zealand grant and this collection will also be published by Victoria University Press in 2016.