‘Semi-Kiwi’, by Brian Turner

The barn roof needs painting
and the spouting is ruined.
Likewise the roof of this house
in which we live, borer here,
rot there. I’m neither handy
in the great Kiwi DIY tradition,
nor monied, which rather leaves
us up shit creek without a shovel.
I grub to find what Stevens called
the ‘plain sense of things’
and come up empty-handed
more often than not, but
I’m a dab-hand at recognising,
if not suppressing, self-pity,
and I can back a trailer
expertly, so all is not lost.

– Brian Turner, ‘Semi-Kiwi’, in Taking Off (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2001), 17.

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