The Lustre Jug, by Bernadette Hall
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In 2007 Bernadette Hall spent six months in Ireland, not far from Blarney, on the Rathcoola Fellowship. The poems in this collection arise from that experience.
With light-heartedness and daring, they track between dualities: the North and the South in Ireland; the rain-washed skies of Donoughmore, Co. Cork and the Queensland rainforest. Between national and personal histories. As for poetry, what is it to be, an axe or a peace offering?
The Glass Harmonica
The island is a holy well,
the crystal glasses fill with water.
‘I’ll strike them with a willow wand
with my left
then with my right hand
and I’ll call their music laughter,’
sings Flaherty’s daughter.
Praise for The Lustre Jug
Hall presents a deeply idiosyncratic map of the world, precisely depicting those details, which make minutes and days warm and inhabitable spaces.
Abby Cunnane CAPITAL TIMES
The Lustre Jug is a warm, elegant little book.
Hamesh Wyatt OTAGO DAILY TIMES
Geoff Cochrane’s Launch Poem for Bernadette Hall’s The Lustre Jug
3 August 2009, Christchurch
I’m here to add sparkle to an already sparkling occasion. I’ve also undertaken to sing
for my supper, but I’ll keep it short and sweet, which I like to think I’m good at.
(Philip Larkin once said he wouldn’t mind seeing China if he could come back the same day)
Yes. And I’m a bit like Larkin, which is why I tell the story.
Our good friend Bernie on the other hand,
travelling hopefully and arriving graciously,
turns out to be a great inhabiter and enjoyer of the places she goes to.
Which brings us to The Lustre Jug and Ireland.
A place where foxgloves are heliotrope thimbles.
A place where there are bridges of glass and moss as thick as the fleece on
A place where raindrops slide gown strings of sunlight.
Bernadette Hall is an award-winning poet who lives in North Canterbury. Her work has been included most recently in Twenty Contemporary New Zealand Poets, edited by Andrew Johnston and Robyn Marsack (VUP/Carcanet, 2009). She is a founding staff member of The Hagley Writers’ Institute in Christchurch.