Poem of the Week: The Gulls

Distinguished local writer and poet

Raumati author, Julie Leibrich, is well known for her writings on justice, crime, spirituality and health. As well as a writer of children’s stories and non-fiction, she is also a poet.

Photo credit: Rob Suisted

One evening at low tide she was on the beach looking out to where Kapiti Island had disappeared in the mist ….

There was no one else in the water or on the beach. A swoop of gulls – about a hundred birds – flew towards me and I really thought they had come to take me with them to the island for the night. I was so sure that they had, I raised my arms in readiness.

This was the inspiration for Julie’s February sonnet.


The gulls


How can I say what happened on that night

in the undulating silk we call the sea,

when a mist concealed the island from my sight

as I became the water; and it, me.


The gulls, that night, the gulls they came in crowds

and I was just a wave so far from shore.

I raised my arms, ready to fly through clouds,

certain they would lift me – I would soar.


There are no words to talk about such times.

No metaphors can make that world unfold

in which the universe itself is just a rhyme

and life, the rhythm death dare not withhold.


I cannot tell you when I came to earth.

I can only say it was a kind of birth.


Julie Leibrich

 (From A Little Book of Sonnets,  published by Steele Roberts, Box 9321, Wellington.)