Crocus buds come up out of winter,
whiteyellowpurple. Then night arrives,

black as a cab, its putter and gleam.
Courage,' say the pub windows: inside

by the fire, old friends ask 'have I changed?' - 
who want to hear Yes, who want to hear No.

The way we say Home, meaning here or there,
it's a well-lit word, it's open all hours,

but when we go home and turn out the light
we dream of crocuses opening.
Andrew Johnston

in Birds of Europe: poems (Victoria University Press, 2000)

Reproduced by permission of the author.
Andrew Johnston

Andrew Johnston, poet and critic,  was born in New Zealand and has lived in France since 1997. He was literary Editor of the Wellington Evening Post , and worked on the London Observer  and the International Herald Tribune , before becoming a freelance editor and translator. His first collection, How to Talk (VUP, 1993), won the 1994 New Zealand Book Award for Poetry and the 1994 Jessie MacKay Best First Book Award. Subsequent collections include  The Open Window (Arc, 1999), Birds of Europe (VUP, 2000), and Sol (VUP, 2007/Arc, 2008). With Robyn Marsack he co-edited the anthologyTwenty Contemporary New Zealand Poets (VUP/Carcanet, 2009).

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