“Otherwhere” is a play of/on words inspired by “Otherwise”, a poem by New Zealand poet Cilla McQueen. The poem – with two people separated by distance – is all about things being “otherwise”, opposites, inverted from the normal, unexpected in contrast to what one is used to. Although “Otherwise” never specifies what kind of relationship the two people in it have, it reflects the reality of long-distance relationships, of the nomadic experience, of global migration and living elsewhere from something/somewhere that you are connected to and have left behind.


I come
from an opposite country
to yours, where water spirals
and the moon waxes
my stars assemble in unfamiliar patterns and I watch often
not traffic or television
but hour by hour the huge tide
absently fingering rocks and small shells and the wet brown kelp
where fish go sliding through.

if you were with me now
on my favourite beach
we’d watch the distant seismograph
of silver peaks darkening to indigo
and walk on the breakwater
towards the harbour mouth,
disturbing the flocks of terns
that wheel up shrieking in slim wild voices to land again behind us
renewing their conference. I would slip my cold hand in your pocket,
you’d look at me and grin
and we would walk together quietly
right to the very end,
where big chained rocks hold back
the same Pacific ocean, lumbering in.

From: McQueen, Cilla. Axis: Poems and Drawings. Otago University Press: 2001. You can get this brilliant collection of poems and drawings here.

Image © by alualuna. Location: Phewa Lake (फेवा ताल), Pokhara, Nepal (2011).

Image © by alualuna.

8 thoughts on ““Otherwhere””

  1. That is a beautiful poem…thank you for sharing.

    • I am so glad you like it! And someone finally commented on the poem! I love this poem myself also and recommend Cilla McQueen’s poetry in general – she was named Poet Laureate for New Zealand in 2010 by the way.

  2. bashful said:

    Thanks alua for sharing this poem, and for introducing us to the poet Cilla McQueen. The first stanza is poignant and beautiful; it made me think of an immigrant missing his country of birth. The second stanza is equally beautiful; one can’t help but feel as if he/she is the one being addressed to in the poem…What a lovely origin of your blog’s name! 🙂

    • I’m glad you liked it. Cilla McQueen is a joy to read.

      I’m still impressed with myself I managed to come up with a blog name that like that and that I still like it as much as I did in the beginning.

  3. your blog is really inspired me. I watched movies you have reviewed in this blog. thank you so much, and please keep going with your brilliant idea. 😉

    • Thank you. 🙂

      Sometimes I post more, sometimes I post less, but I will keep writing about films. Which films were you inspired to watch after reading a review on this blog?

  4. iceberg said:

    i want to visit yours
    where is this otherwhere?

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