All posts by DavidBriggs

UPLI Poetry Prize

To my delight, I was recently informed that one of my poems, entitled Motueka, had won a silver medal in the 2015 United Poets Laureate International poetry competition.

The winning poems will be published in an anthology and  exhibited on the UPLI website.

The prize money will be donated to Piano on Tour.







looks at me with pained eyes

and pleads with me

in words I cannot hear.

His silence accuses me.



is of course

a dog’s dog,

alpha to his brother’s beta, can steer

him with a nudge, scowl

a warning, scold

him with a growl

think him,

share his fears

and excitement.


But to me

he has always been

mine, knows

my voice, the fall of my foot,

my commands,

the scale of my promises –

my soons and laters and tomorrows –


my intentions

anticipates my moods and frowns and needs


finds me

is always my companion.


But what use am I

who am deaf as a rock

to his pleading

and stony-eyed

to his pain;

can manage only

the simplest of tasks:


by the strike of a clock

water in an empty bowl


a walk when the desire

takes me?



pants, sighs





I pick up the phone.



March 3rd 2015


Note: A few days later, Midge was diagnosed with cancer and had to be put down. Both we and his brother miss him.

Rain after drought

The musk air

brings promise of an end to it all:

earth bare,

sun staring,

cattle stark and drooped in cracked brown fields,

the willows dry

from weeping into the sad river,

all life shrivelled.


But now the clouds are massing

on the empty hills.

Soon they will pour

into the valley,

shut out the sky,

and let their anger loose.

Then the air will fill with the roar

of life returning,

the soil will spit


in the gulleys

the water will chortle


and joyful

we will dance

like children in the rain.

The Mallards

ply their way

across the dark water,

towing letters in their wake.

Pulling a V

or together a W,


an M or two;

pausing to bury their


in search of a letter they dropped somewhere,

not seeing the Os spread around them

and merge.

Then they converge

in a corner

and suddenly fretful,

bickering over some silly spelling mistake,

assemble their message to the world:



Outside your arms I am free

to mock and laugh

like the magpies, vulgarly,

or ride the wild air

freezing the world below me with my harrier’s eye,

follow the blundering kereru

through the forest


strut stiff and steely silent in the shallows

flick fretfully at last-year’s leaves

dance and moon in the face of strangers.

Yet always my thoughts circle

and are drawn back

and like the starlings at dusk

I long to slap down

and feel myself again


in the prison of your branches.

Punctuated piece

As I write

the world is in peace

dogs and mountains

sleep stretched in the sun

trees stand lank and lazy by the lake

ducks drift idly

only the aeroplane

circling practising

engine cut-



ting again

disturbs the day

like uninvited,