Landscapes are created and figures emerge from those landscapes to inhabit them. They are meant to grow from inside and surface gradually. The life-force of the poems - the images, impressions, the archetypal moments - are left to sink even deeper into the unconsciousness.
Each poem has its own theme, meaning, relevancy for being. Each needs to be approached as one would approach a window – not to look out of and see the rotations of life, but to look in, as if one were peering into new spatial worlds. Once read, I would want the reader to walk away and reflect on a poem, then I would expect them to return for more. As a collection, each poem is a story. Whenever I read them, I stand at the window too. I stare in and continue to see new things that weren't there before. The landscape keeps changing.
Hopefully the reader will feel 'a definite sense of place in every poem, even when positions shift and people transform'.
Iain was born and educated in Palmerston North, New Zealand.
He spent many years living and teaching in London, followed by a spell as an EFL teacher in Bournemouth in the south of England.
During the 80s he taught in small rural areas such as Manutuke and Taupo in the North Island of New Zealand. He now teaches at a large independent school for boys in Auckland.
Even though for many years he has had a long-running relationship with writing in all its various forms, his work with poetry is only a recent pursuit. His first poems were published in 2000.
Down the Green Barrel of a Daffodil
Staring down the green barrel of a daffodil
tells me things can’t be too bad.
It’s spring and this hillside
is unbuttoning its buds. Further down
I smell the soft dark earth rising. The moist
grasses have been leveled
by animals, the tramping of people
the after-effects of lovers. An Indian
faxed straight from Calcutta
opens his shop and lets in the first dog.
Who’s plucking out the eyes of Gaza now?
asks its owner taking a newspaper.
A man hands out religious leaflets on politics
on family behaviour,
don’t muck about with your daughters/
your maidservants/your oxen
don’t publicly play with your balls.
Stand fast in the faith.
Wash your lips before you kiss.
He rides his hog up the hill
where his Jehovah lives in a fiery cloud.
Sundays are definitely for stretching necks
peaceful addictions, for, amongst these
daffodils, I hide from the sky’s harsh glare,
the ghetto-blasting streets, the garden din
of gadgetry, from children chasing goblins.
I walk with a girl picking moments
to satisfy my craving. I pretend my house
is occupied by someone other than myself –
this girl for instance.
I grasp at chunks of morning stillness.
I manhandle her softly.
Caught a snap of him
passing, a webbed hand
flapping like a fan
steaming and hooded
under hot clouds.
Lollies punctuate the air
and the small Michaels and Ripekas
of this world
all squeal, spread their arms
and a sweetness
hits the turf
and there’s this scramble
The crowds cheer
and toss lumps of words
at their idol made flesh
for another year.
San Gennaro’s blood
and the cave dwellers
to stand at their exits.
I flatten my nose
against the sky’s window
and push it across a landscape
At night, men gather to talk.
They swap places with angels
flying out to hunt
and feed on stars.
this grassroots bloke
his cup running over, gifting
smiles every second
and cures made of herbal teas
and giving voice to poems
wrapped up in beads.
Water runs off his back
reshapes his profile
and makes him question
who he is today
who he should be tomorrow.
He waves his hand
as he swoops the loops
and does a fly past
in a wheatfield.
I’m no good at joining crowds
to listen to some pretender
who wants to rule
by sitting on a stony throne
who works miracles
at the flick of a finger.
On a clear Saturday
a cripple walks properly again
straighten their faces, the boys
in their prime make rainbows
while the sun shines.
The blood in the glass
know the signs
and leap after him.
I pull back from the scenic frame
of town meets country.
A woman on the road
calls up the moon
and a flock of starlings
pecks at her blackness.
[Read more on GoogleBooks]
Tim Jones interviews Iain about his first two poetry books
The title poem in Britton's Liquefaction alludes to the miraculous liquefaction of a saint's blood in Italy, and in its mode is an elliptical assemblage of rhetorical effects, so that in the end, as an old woman walks beneath the moon, 'a flock of starlings pecks at her blackness.' The best of Britton is about such telling perceptions: the rain 'blowing autumns ecstasies against your windows'. His concern is with classic truths — the flight of time, seizing the moment, the island of the self: 'You search the mirror for space and brush/ your hair. I squeeze in beside you// beside the sharp corners and wash my face/ in its silver shallows . . .'
– David Eggleton, Landfall