Life, creativity, better even than God
which many believe in, more than the dollar

or the existence of fermions—does it matter
that Antares can consume 663 trillion Earths?

Monstrous weight, that can, if you like, be lifted
by the work of bees: a miracle none foretold.

We can’t get it right like Newton—we search
for patterns to lay it down in best durable forms


watch the sea deal with rocks, feel sand between
your toes—let’s say of art that it thinks differently

about the shape of mushrooms we picked together
on Saturday—we don’t know anything about them

except two hours of fun in paddocks: the biosphere
and adventure ours—no one’s going nowhere

but the infinity of our own creative purpose
arriving at a place unknown.



Old married couples still spoon.
Even more often on winter mornings
—in fact, they’ve looked forward
to embracing the pleasures of a winter bed.
Which is not to say they don’t enjoy
a summer bed, when sheet and duvet,
somehow, end up knotted together
on the floor.

Old married couples get older.
Now lying parallel on their backs,
like stone effigies in churches of kings
and queens, who, after lights out, unlock
their arms from hard evocative folds
and reach across to gently nudge
each other, and suggestive of
so much more.


Debt free

You’ve written
that because it’s my birthday
you’ll do all my work for me
for a day a week

if you’re referring in your promissory note
to the dishes I wash
you’re not tall enough to reach the sink

and I’m not sure just yet
that I’ll trust you with a hot element

and while you’re strong
I know you’ll struggle to push a lawnmower

so how about
I accept your promise
knowing it doesn’t need to be kept

because you’ve already done your best work:
the work that matters,
the work we do for each other

when there are no debts
or promises.



An open door at midnight, summer.
Naked in the orange glow of a street light.
Silent houses across the road facing:
The blue-black sky curtaining down
Behind their peaked roofs.

Cars and trucks on State Highway One:
A constant echoing roar, punctuated
By the bark of a dog on Clark Street,
Which sets off other dogs, noise-spots,
That map the town around me.



Big Love Songs - Cover

“With its raw honesty and starvation-rations of irony, Big Love Songs is entirely different to anything I’ve read lately. It is in-yer-face poetry, but it is also poetry that aches and is vulnerable. It is poetry that, like Northland citrus fruit, manages to be both bitterly pithy and sweetly personal.”
– Elizabeth Morton, Landfall Review Online

“One of the greatest achievements of this collection is how Gunson draws the reader in and creates this sense of intimacy… If you’re love-sick, Big Love Songs knows how it feels and is right there with you.”
– Joshua Morris, Poetry NZ

“These poems flow nicely as a group. They are light – not lite, definitely not – and a pleasure to read, combining as they do serious emotion with almost a playful presentation.”
– Mary Cresswell, Takahe

“Gunson is deliberately crafting poems of elegance and restraint which, when read alone, pale somewhat into insignificance when compared to the cumulative effect of reading several, one after another…”
– Vaughan Rapatahana, A Fine Line, NZPS

To purchase Big Love Songs for $25 (including postage) send an email to vaughangunson@gmail.com


The dead and the detritus

There are catacombs beneath
aaaaaaathe terror and jazzy nights
aaaaaaaof Paris, which you can pay

to visit, like Monet’s soft lilies
aaaaaaaor the monstrous halls
aaaaaaaof the Louvre.

From the careful through-the-ages layering
aaaaaaaof femur and skull, something
aaaaaaathat moves, still.


Published in Fast Fibres 5, 2018.