Poem of the Year

Gill Ward selects ‘All my feelings would have been of common things’

Rachel Bush, of Nelson, KIN poet of the year

This poem by Rachel Bush is brave and strong. These are her feelings about dying – her collection  Thought Horses ( Victoria University Press 2016) came out in 2016 just before she died.

Although the poem was written in 2016 It appeared on that year’s Best New Zealand  Poems, online in May 2017. Rachel  was a Nelson poet and as well as her own writing she was a warm supporter of other poets.

If you get a chance read this collection, it is very moving and  the poems are mostly short and all are beautifully written with every word carefully  and precisely chosen. Nothing is wasted each word is built on the others in the poem, each on each in its perfect place. An honest and compelling insight  of a writer sharing her thoughts on life and death. Rachel does the craft of poetry proud.

All my feelings would have been of common things

By Rachel Bush

All my feelings are of common things
of the clock going on, of the next
meal or the last one, of the washing
on the line and if there’s enough heat
to dry it, of how to clean a lawnmower
just enough to make the Salvation Army
man want to take it away, with old grey
grass stuck to the blades, the tyres that hold
dirt, like cleats in walking shoes. Also
a dryer I bought forty years ago,
I stick the manual and the expired
guarantee inside the metal drum.
All those clothes it turned and churned, the lint
that it trapped in its door. I once thought
many things would make my life happier
and now one by one I will let them go.

 Rachel Bush