I heard Kate read this poem up in Palmerston North last month. We were both tutoring an Honours course in writing fiction at Massey University, and spent the weekend there with the students who were learning extramurally and had come for a 'contact' weekend from all over NZ and overseas. The course 'captain' Thom Conroy (who writes award-winning fiction as Thomas Gough) had us all doing an 'Open Mic' on Saturday evening - with wine flowing and loads of food.
It was a terrific event - very relaxed (as Thom likes it) -- and Thom, Kate and I all read, as well as the students. Kate's poem was the stand-out for me.
I think it is wonderful the way she builds the love and intimacy in the relationship through the simple task of baking a cake. There's a contemplative beauty in every line, and a lovely evocation of child vs. ageing grandmother shown through the grandmother's teaching, the things the grandmother says, the child spreading her fingers on the dark glass. Throughout there is a feeling of inevitability - of a cake rising, the day turning to night, life passing.
Kate's grandmother has passed away now and although she thought she'd be okay reading the poem, it was still emotional for Kate. The rest of us felt it. It could be any of our grandmothers or our children's grandmothers. It gives me a lump in my throat reading it now. And the last line - fantastic.
This poem is posted with Kate's permission, it first appeared in Sport. Kate has published an excellent novel called Breakwater which is set in Wellington, and is a teacher of short fiction at Victoria University and book reviewer. Until we went to Palmerston North together I didn't know she was a poet.