The Veronica’s Veil Poetry School


A school where there is always a great deal of washing
on the clotheslines. The poets who work with laundry

disappear between rows of sheets. You only
see their feet. So much needs mopping up.

There’s a special technique. Spills are welcome here
and nothing washed until it’s archived. The cloth,

the face, the rush forward of ever-impulsive Veronica.
(Look what she got. That’s the School motto:

Press It Down In Verse.) Sometimes a small
hand towel will do, sometimes a rag, a tissue

if it doesn’t disintegrate. In the library
they are piling up the books, all the caught images.

On a day of high wind
there’s a line of graduates.


Elizabeth Smither’s latest collection of poetry Night Horse was published earlier this year by Auckland University Press.