A poem by CK Stead in response to a review by Philip Matthews at ReadingRoom.

National Anthems

16 June (Bloomsday) 2021

Philip Matthews says

Stead feels more at home

in France than

in Wellington.   My

friend Tony who

has lived in both

asks ‘Who wouldn’t?’

Maria Stepanova

tells her friend

Sasha that her poems

are an attempt

to love her

country ‘because

someone has to’.

Borges wished to die

in Geneva

which was ‘nice and

not Argentina’.

Joyce chose Zurich,

Pound Venice, because

they were neither

Ireland nor the

U.S.  Eliot

preferred England,


Vailima in Samoa,

both far from

home and loyalty

to a flag.  It seems

I must pay my

country the respect

of dying right here

but only

(honours to the


because of the Lockdown.

What You Made Of It: 1987-2020, the third and possibly final volume of memoirs by CK Stead (Auckland University Press, $49.99), is available in bookstores nationwide.

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