Iain Britton

Iain was born and educated in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

He spent many years living and teaching in London, followed by a spell as an EFL teacher in Bournemouth in the south of England.

During the 80s he taught in small rural areas such as Manutuke and Taupo in the North Island of New Zealand. He now teaches at a large independent school for boys in Auckland.

Even though for many years he has had a long-running relationship with writing in all its various forms, his work with poetry is only a recent pursuit. His first poems were published in 2000.


Down the Green Barrel of a Daffodil

Staring down the green barrel of a daffodil
tells me things can’t be too bad.

It’s spring and this hillside
is unbuttoning its buds. Further down

I smell the soft dark earth rising. The moist
grasses have been leveled

by animals, the tramping of people
the after-effects of lovers. An Indian

faxed straight from Calcutta
opens his shop and lets in the first dog.

Who’s plucking out the eyes of Gaza now?
asks its owner taking a newspaper.

A man hands out religious leaflets on politics
on family behaviour,

don’t muck about with your daughters/
your maidservants/your oxen

don’t publicly play with your balls.
Stand fast in the faith.

Be strong.
Wash your lips before you kiss.

He rides his hog up the hill
where his Jehovah lives in a fiery cloud.

Sundays are definitely for stretching necks
for confessing

peaceful addictions, for, amongst these
daffodils, I hide from the sky’s harsh glare,

the ghetto-blasting streets, the garden din
of gadgetry, from children chasing goblins.

I walk with a girl picking moments
to satisfy my craving. I pretend my house

is occupied by someone other than myself –
this girl for instance.

I grasp at chunks of morning stillness.
I manhandle her softly.


Caught a snap of him
passing, a webbed hand
flapping like a fan

a face
steaming and hooded
under hot clouds.

Lollies punctuate the air
and the small Michaels and Ripekas
of this world

all squeal, spread their arms
and a sweetness
hits the turf

and there’s this scramble
for fun.
The crowds cheer

and toss lumps of words
at their idol made flesh
for another year.

San Gennaro’s blood
and the cave dwellers

to stand at their exits.
I flatten my nose

against the sky’s window
and push it across a landscape
of oranges.

At night, men gather to talk.
They swap places with angels
flying out to hunt

and feed on stars.
They avoid
this grassroots bloke

his cup running over, gifting
smiles every second
and cures made of herbal teas

and giving voice to poems
wrapped up in beads.
Water runs off his back

reshapes his profile
and makes him question
who he is today

who he should be tomorrow.
He waves his hand
as he swoops the loops

and does a fly past
and lands
in a wheatfield.

I’m no good at joining crowds
to listen to some pretender
who wants to rule

by sitting on a stony throne
who works miracles
at the flick of a finger.

On a clear Saturday
a cripple walks properly again
the schizophrenics

straighten their faces, the boys
in their prime make rainbows
while the sun shines.

The blood in the glass

The children
know the signs
and leap after him.

I pull back from the scenic frame
of town meets country.
A woman on the road

calls up the moon
and a flock of starlings
pecks at her blackness.

[Read more on GoogleBooks]


Tim Jones interviews Iain about his first two poetry books

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