Randell Cottage Writers Trust online poetry festival — Fiona Kidman

poetry day logo 2014 webThe Randell Cottage Writers Trust is marking National Poetry Day (22 August 2014) with our own online poetry festival, a series of poems by Randell Cottage poets (a term encompassing our residents, trustees and committee members).


Courtesy of Random House NZ
Courtesy of Random House NZ

Author, poet, scriptwriter, writing teacher… Fiona Kidman is a founding trustee of the Randell Cottage Writers Trust. The poem below was written in Menton in 2006, during her time as Katherine Mansfield Fellow. At the time, she hadn’t written poetry for fifteen or so years but says there was something about the light, the place, the peaches, that set the poet’s pen free.


The garden at Sainte-Agnès
for Ian

Hanging there in the rocks,
the highest coastal village
in all of Europe: the first challenge
is to climb to the ruin of the castle
at the very top, and the next
is to climb back down. But somewhere

round eight hundred metres
there is a medieval garden
tended by two patient women.
There were days when we needed
to go to the hills, to sit in the garden
beside the low parterres

shaped in crosses and stars
around the apple trees, to simply
watch the small orange butterflies
losing themselves in the spent
tiger lilies, inhale the thyme
and chives and potted sage

and watch the sheep of Sainte-Agnès
grazing in all the dim sweet
green world down below. If it was
never more perfect than this
it would be enough and more. Dear,
there is so much to remember.

Fiona Kidman
From Where Your Left Hand Rests, Random House New Zealand, 2020