Mapping the Distance
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This superb collection of poems shows the benefit of ten years gestation. The major part of the book consists of poems coming from years spent living and studying overseas and then settling back in New Zealand and starting a family. With its broad scope and variety of lyric styles, Mapping the Distance is a landmark book.
Published: Victoria University Press an imprint of Independent Publishers Group on
ISBN: 9780864736673
List price: $8.00
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Mapping the Distance - Ingrid Horrocks

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Page 1 of 1

Figs

Figs do not grow on trees on my side of the water,

no perfume tells the tale outside.

First there were paintings

of delicately placed leaves,

then, writing which hung lives

from a fig tree’s branches.

Later, I read of my great aunt eating

a large dish of exquisite small green figs.

She was leaning from a window in Italy

listening to church bells sound.

My first fig is served at breakfast

disguised in green-brown skin

wet and cool from the tree.

I eat it slowly with a silver fork.

The next, months later, is sweeter,

plucked by my sun-darkened arm.

I squeeze it open with fingers

and taste the pink flesh.

Kaki

In Japan it was peeled by a mother,

cut into four and placed on a china plate.

It was almost round with skin bright orange,

its leaves folded back in a four-tongued collar.

I was given a toothpick to eat with,

a napkin to wipe juice from my chin.

I learnt that this sweet fruit was named kaki

date plum, Chinese apple or persimmon.

In Italy it comes to me from the hands of a woman.

It is half green, half orange, with twigs still attached.

Tartness fills my mouth.

I ask a name, she gives me kaki.

It has been grafted with the local

orange plum, diospyros lotus.

A tree now grows beside her house;

together we feed the bruised fruits to the chickens.

Cactus

No cacti for the windowsill,

they are green and ten feet tall,

their plate-sized leaves pin-cushioned,

their fruit – swollen eggs turned yellow.

I have seen her eat and try to imitate her movements,

grasping the fruit and hacking it from the plant.

The prickles are small and puncture my skin,

I do not dare to bring them near my tongue.

Next time I watch how she selects a softer plant,

how gently she holds the cactus, slices it from the stem

then slits it open with a neat stroke along its skin.

She gives me first an orange fruit, then a