In 1995 a volume of New Zealand love poetry was published under the title My Heart Goes Swimming. Instead of using one of the more conventional orderings of the poems, the editors arranged the poems chronologically according to when they believed the poets had written them. My selection of poems retained this organisation, although during composition of the cycle I substituted my original choice for the final poem with Robin Hyde’s Road’s End. The poets represented in the cycle are A.R.D. Fairburn, Mary Stanley, Brian Turner, Denis Glover and Robin Hyde.
There is no real common thread which links the poems, other than their subject of love. All except the first speak directly to another person, whereas the first is descriptive of a loved one. The second poem speaks of the intimacy of love. It provides the cycle’s title in its last two lines: “I seek no other heav’n beyond your mortal face”. The third poem has the poet offering to give the reasons why love has flourished: to “…invite me to speak of the secrets I never knew I wanted to tell you”. The fourth poem uses the recurring line “I am bright with the wonder of you” to describe the various attractions of the loved one. The final song is a re-working of a piece which originally appeared as part of my Three Robin Hyde Impressions of 1993 for choir and piano. It seemed to fit here as a bittersweet farewell to love : “you have made summer golden, now you go”.
No Other Heaven was commissioned by New Zealand guitarist Tony Donaldson with funding from Creative New Zealand whose assistance is gratefully acknowledged.