Tuesday poem, Secret Santa edition: ‘Christmas Baubles from Northland’

In one of those enchanting, life-affirming synchronicities, I’ve been paired with Elizabeth Welsh in the Secret Santa edition of the Tuesday Poem. It’s a lovely way to come back after a five week absence, I can tell you!

Elizabeth Welsh is an editor, writer and Katherine Mansfield academic based in Auckland, New Zealand. In her role of editor, she holds a number of positions, as the New Zealand literature expert for Routledge Academic’s online resource ABES, the academic copy editor for the Journal of Asia-Pacific studies, educational copy editor for the animal rights organisation SAFE, and editor of The Typewriter, a poetry initiative in its third year, dedicated to publishing quality emerging New Zealand poets.

Creatively she writes poetry and short stories and has been published in a variety of online and print publications. Her creative inspiration comes (predominantly) from the New Zealand landscape that she loves to explore.

This particular poem is part of a collection that she would love to have published, which focuses on simple experiences in the landscapes that she grew up in. ‘Christmas baubles in Northland’, quite simply, expresses her returned visits to Northland and to the small but thriving arts communities based there. It is a reflection on how our Christmas ornaments and festoonery make their way to our pine trees and mantelpieces. Watching glass baubles being made in sweltering temperatures beside a tiny harbour reminds her of summer and Christmas time.

And here it is – a beautiful poem, set in my favourite part of the world.

Christmas Baubles from Northland

by Elizabeth Welsh

And then we came home. You bought me liquid

amber bubbles on the quayside banks of

the Hatea river that year.

We had been there before, stood in those rooms

with furnaces at over a thousand, while viscous orbs

became elastic skins full of almond,

rose, indigo, coral and sea-green air.

Paddles beat at the soft glass,

while water-soaked fruit wood curved each molten daub.

And then we came home. You took me

along the harbour, past the glassblowers and the clock museum

and reminded me of Hatea baubles.


Please visit The Tuesday Poem for more Secret Santa treats.

One Response to “Tuesday poem, Secret Santa edition: ‘Christmas Baubles from Northland’”

  1. Helen Lowe Says:

    This poem captures nostalgia–and all those other bauble bubbles–beautifully!

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