Sam Hunt reading from Salt River Songs


I’ve got all the poets that
I love, telling their poems. This is my Bob Dylan. That’s Bob Dylan. That’s all Bob Dylan. Here’s Auden. Dylan Thomas, Dylan Thomas,
all the rest of them. And my son, Tom, who
is now a young man. Not young, he’s 39. And I sit here, and
I do a lot of my– I sit on the stool, which I’ve
got here, which I normally have over here. And I sit here. And I like to work
away, sitting off on– either sitting over there
at the table or sitting here and looking out
on the Salt River. And it makes a lot
of sense to me. Well look, there are
a couple of poems here which I don’t have
quite in my memory yet. They’re pretty new. They’re coming out
– in fact, they’ll be in the new book,
Salt River Songs. And here’s one I mentioned
somewhere, I think, during our interview. I’ll talk about my father. This one’s called My
Father’s Waistcoats. If you want to see the
score, it looks like that. It’s written in two-line verses. English lesson over. Ha ha. Get on with the poem. My father’s waistcoats
never had pockets. It was years later,
someone explained, a good lawyer in court
didn’t need notes. I never went with the law like
my father would have liked. But I got to swing juries like
he said, swinging the lead. I never rode into town
like I’d like to have done. But I carry a gun in my head. These two piles to
the left, classical, not being sort of
cocking my little finger. But I love music. I went to a lot
of– my father used to take me to the town hall. His chambers were just up the
road from the open town hall – Percy, Percy Hunt. And we’d go to the
concerts at the town hall. And I’d hear people like Yehudi
Menuhin and Pablo Casals. Just wonderful. And this is full of
people like Neil Young. A lot of Lucinda Williams. Got a lot of hers. Love her. Live at the Fillmore. That incredible song about her
brother, committed suicide. What’s it called? Sweet Side, f**k that’s a song. Salt River Songs: One. Never the sparkling waters
or the beautiful daughters as sparkling as they be. It’s a muddy creek for
me, twisting and turning on Kaipara time. Floating downstream, on the next
tide returning to, The landing, built roughly where
early settlers landed. Months at sea behind them. More months uncertainty. They ended up in a land
they never had in mind. I’ll be leaving by the
landing on Kaipara time. Three. A fisherman from Pahi
got a mermaid is his net. Good as a man can
get when he falls in love at sea on Kaipara time. The net’s well set, that and
immaculate timing of tides. On Kaipara time, a
patriarch lay dying, tears for what he had done,
the cheating and lying. Family gathered around him. He said, “I know I’m dying. There’s only one problem. I can’t, but God, I’m trying.” Five, on Kaipara time, he died. And the family joined hands
like the five salt rivers of the Kaipara,
each of them knowing it would soon be for them. The tidal clocks
chime on Kaipara time. I see you up in town. We meet on the street. Good to see you, I say. You say it’s good to see me. You’re moving east, you tell me. I wish you a clear sea. Meantime, Kaipara time,
it’s a muddy creek for me. So there are a couple
of new poems for you. Hope you enjoyed them.

7 thoughts on “Sam Hunt reading from Salt River Songs

  1. Lovely short piece on an incredible poet, artist and icon. We're super blessed Sam's still writing and telling his poems. Really enjoyed the how this was produced too. Thanks RN!

  2. Great stuff Sam,hide that bucket mate,none of us want you kicking it any time soon!

  3. I knew him ( Sam) when he was a pupil at Saint Peters way way back light years ago. We talked a few short times on the playground. A gregarious person with wit and charm and a remarkable capacity to not care what others thought of him carrying his books to school in a sugar sack. Unquestionably born to be a poet. Liked by all especially the teachers.
    Who is there who doesn’t wish him well. We all do. New Zealand is proud of him.

  4. Presumably his unique personality of instant likability was founded upon zero jealousy, allowing him to really like people and they responded in kind. He was very happy to have been given his God gifted talent. A very good poet. One of the best. He was on a high. Not as high as a kite. But happily high on life in a good light hearted way. Not at all prone to being melancholic. He doesn’t seem to have changed at all. Oh yes in looks yes of course. But essentially he’s still that same likeable confident interesting guy who quickly ingratiates himself. He taught me with his uninhibited behaviour to not worry what other think of you. A great lesson I am still learning.

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