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Alpine Flower a Day: Scarlet Snowberry

Alpine Flower a Day: Day 13, Scarlet Snowberry (Gaultheria crassa)

– a little bush about 50cm high with these gorgeous flowers that turn to scarlet berries in autumn

– late December, Dobson Track Arthurs Pass

the small disappointments of a writer-editor

dear reader,

my brain is dead, I want to write

about Scarlet, but I've read

400 poems in the last two

days. that's about eight books of

rhythmic, mythical, lyrical, fantastic

poems about tides, birds dying, a

drawing of a dead dog, and other

places where I was dragged (howling) inside

wombs, onto depression street

with disappointing endings, and the strange minds

of American men. before christmas

I thought what's the point of all this

arranging words into right places

when the world already has too many

poets, too many slim collections

vying for attention, awards, and what

and why another? why do I bother

to write? I'm an editor, I will choose

about 20 from those 400, I know

what it is to be placed in a journal

that will be covered in dust in no more

than a year, or to be turned away

on a taste, an age, a mood,

it's unjust. But here I am just

doing it again, and do you know why?

because I want to write a poem

about Scarlet, and the thing

that captured me – her colour? a bloom?

a wondrous small survival? I failed,

but I do feel better


it's for you.

If you're interested in the inspiration behind this month-long series of 'An Alpine Flower A Day' about NZ alpine flowers and poems, you can find more in my first post: An Alpine Flower A Day Enjoy!


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