Posted by: John Looker | 1 May, 2022

Conversation with a Sea Lion

This poem was Highly Commended in a New Zealand international competition:

This was the Caselberg Trust International Poetry Competition of 2020. I’ve tried to find a journal in Aotearoa/New Zealand that would be willing to publish it but have had no luck – so it’s time to post it here.

It was read beautifully by the Kiwi actor, writer and TV presenter Peter Hayden at the results night in Dunedin (I have a video of this) and the Caselberg Trust were most gracious in welcoming my two NZ daughters to the event.

(It’s odd: I posted this a couple of hours ago and even had one comment on it, but that first post has disappeared from WordPress and so I’ve reported to a repost)


  1. I remember this excellent poem well, John! It is an original and impressive variant on the saying, “Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers”!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Bruce. That’s a nice way of seeing it!


  3. Lovely gentle conversation and setting, you and the sea lion by the ocean!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Karin – and thank you! You have some remarkable wildlife in your part of the world. For me, coming from Britain with no large wild animals, the sea lions in NZ were formidable. They inspired me twice to write poems about them. Neither has been published anywhere: there wasn’t a place for them in my book, Shimmering Horizons, as that was a carefully constructed work on a theme – the whole thing had to be tightly organised to move from a modern quest to a 21st century Odyssey (with a female Odyssea). When – if – we get back to visiting NZ maybe I’ll find new stimulus in their wildlife. Meanwhile I hope your writing is going well.


  4. John, it’s that solitutde and merging with nature that one misses in the city. How beautifully you’ve captured it. How difficult to find a place like that now. Well, maybe if I could get to the lake in Bolsena.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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