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Diana Brodie (      - 2019)

Angel of the East               Above Golden Bay

         Dove Cottage           Wedding Music


Angel of the East


Light-years had passed since his leaving.

He had landed.  Was there a message

to deliver? An Annunciation? On the coldest

night of the year, the ambiguous angel crouched

on the roof of the Dresden shoe factory,

awaiting enlightenment, for why he had

come and what was now expected of him

he could no longer remember.


                             Throbbing wing-beats

dissolved to a mere tinnitus of memory;

celestial sky-dazzle of sun, stars, moon

spilled through the back of his eyes.

He sucked snow to refresh his soured breath,

brushed flakes from his eyes like tears.

But in the coming he had cast a fine figure:

burnished halo levitating over golden tresses,

the pearly gloss of his outstretched wings.

And the air rush as he plunged, the joy of it.



Diana Brodie

published in Borderlines, June 2008




Above Golden Bay


For fourteen days, we stayed above the bay

in the holiday house at the top of the hill.

Every day we ate from cans, re-read old magazines,

occasionally spoke to one another,

but never about why

we could not leave the house.

Some questions were never asked.

Often we could hear the waves

and imagined them breaking on golden sands.

Five of us waited for something to change.


On the last morning, rain streaked

the car windows.  We sat in silence                                       

while Dad dumped the rubbish, locked the doors

of the holiday house at the top of the hill.    

Then he drove us back home, a ten hour journey

past the place where the mountains meet the sea,

across three braided rivers,

(Rangatira, Rakaia, Waimakariri),

and along one-way shingle tracks where

we grew used to Mum’s sharp intakes of breath

before each hairpin bend.  



Diana Brodie

earlier version published in Poetry News, Summer 2007





Dove Cottage

"There is a small house at Grasmere empty which we might take."
William Wordsworth: Letter to Dorothy from Grasmere.  November 7, 1799.


Rain drums on the corrugated iron roof.

At five o’clock, we hear a car door slam.

Slow footsteps up the path.

The verandah’s floorboards creak.

Dad humps his suitcase into the kitchen

and the cat remembers him, wraps its tail

around his leg.  I stop shelling peas

though Mum goes on rinsing

the sheeps’ hearts we’ll have for tea.


Dad reaches in his pocket, tells me to

hold out my hands!

I snap them open like a peapod

and into my palms soft-falls

a tiny porcelain house

with four leaded windows

under a neat thatch,

pink roses

climbing the walls.


In my clasped hands

the house grew warm

as if the fires and lamps were lit.

I wanted to move in.

Late that night I wrote a poem.

Mum found it, tore it up,

put the pieces in the bin.



Diana Brodie

published in Smiths Knoll, 42, April 2008





Wedding Music


After the wedding guests had gone

my daughter, curls tumbling

golden skirt flying,

was dancing with your son

to music of their making

which you interpreted

as a waltz and we danced too.  


Next morning when I thought

you had already gone,

it made me jump to see

you back in the kitchen doorway.

Silent.  Hesitant.

Silhouette with briefcase.

Magritte’s man without his bowler hat.

Somewhere, distant music played

but with a change of key.


Papers laid across the table,

you read from their thin vocabulary.

       In phrasing staccato.

Born in Vilnius.

Murdered in Dachau.

       Basso ostinato.


Died in Auschwitz.



basso ostinato: “a short bass phrase repeated many times with varied upper parts”.

                        (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music)


Diana Brodie

published in Agenda, Vol.43, Nos 2-3


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