Days beside water
"Days Beside Water" is an ideal introduction to the poetry of Gregory O'Brien, one of the best younger writers (and artists) of New Zealand. The poems are set where sea, land and sky, past, present and future, meet in different lights and moods. There are lyrics, comic interludes, an imagined account of the marriage of Samuel Marsden, the 19th-century missioner. The theme of spiritual marriage - a union of clements in imaginary or historical contexts - recurs in two sequences: an invented life of the Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi, and "The Milk Horse", about a foundling and the Mother Superior of an orphanage. The poems capture the permanent value in moments and emotions, chiefly love. O'Brien's involvement with the graphic arts and add richness to his imagery.
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