VAUGHAN GUNSON lives in Hikurangi, Northland. He tries to juggle being an art teacher, writer, activist, unionist and parent of young children. More of his poems can be read at

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       after reading Sam Hunt’s poem ‘Better than this?’
       (or why poetry is worthwhile)

       lying on the couch
       again, which isn’t comfortable
       even with pillows. I get stuck here
       sometimes, watching children’s television,
       supervising the building
                   of Lego towers,
       snatching moments of poetry, flashes
       of life worthwhile

             —like a train
       going past the back fence
       only 10 or so metres from the couch,
       carrying logs from up North.
       the train weighs through the room
             like a deep conscience, unavoidable.

       I remember the movie 1900
       with DeNiro & Gérard Depardieu.
       as a kid, the Depardieu character
       lies down length-wise on the track
       & a train goes over the top of him.
       the other boy (who would grow up
       to be played by DeNiro)
       watches, afraid.
       at the end of the movie, however
       it’s the DeNiro character, now an old man
       who lies across the track,
       his neck & legs on the rails
       as a train approaches.

       I’m lying on a couch, 10 or so metres
       from where trains go past,
       yet each time it’s thrilling,
       a worthwhile moment
                   —as it could be
      for anyone in Kamo, Maungaturoto,
       Wellsford or Helensville
       who’s lying on a couch,
       hanging out the washing,
       yelling at the kids, or eating
       a meat pie in the car
       as a train passes.

       & really, there’s no need
       to lie on the track
       unless you’re Depardieu
       or DeNiro
       & it’s the movies.