Harry Ricketts


For Cecil
(in mem. Cecil Dorothy Mary Simpson 1918–2006)

Thin rain. Winter light
strobes the slate-grey harbour.
These camellias look very pink.

You’d have noticed that,
being the gardener
you were, who made a white paradise

out of a clay patch.
But now that you’ve slipped
away into the back of beyond

you won’t mind, we hope,
if we still make that smooth
fruit breakfast you’d casually whizz up

or fondly make jokes
about your driving, how
you’d ricochet around Wellington

and never ever
have an accident, how
tenacious you could be at Scrabble

poring over those
tiny, high-scoring words,
how you and Dick were inseparable.

Cecil, now you are
our memories of you.
These camellias look very pink.



Harry Ricketts has published eight collections of poems, most recently Your Secret Life (HeadworX, 2005). He lives in Wellington, New Zealand where he teaches English literature and creative non-fiction at Victoria University.