This gallery contains 2 photos.
The shadow passed directly overhead, no prior notice. No wing-beats or engines, just the temporary darkening of the sun. I squinted upwards. The return of the dinosaurs? Haast’s Eagle rebuilt from stem cells, on a maiden voyage to the coast? Hardly. Just a plane. But right then, as I stood on the sand– stick in […]
The beach is a friend of the morning:
Each a sheet in the sea of the sun.
The seal pup is playing the mouth
Of the river that swallows the sea.
The seal pup is playing for fun:
He’s not in this business for food,
There’s a wave at the bay that he’s chasing,
The woman is waving away
The rise of the tide is dawning,
The sun rose the previous morning,
The seal pup is playing the tides,
And the woman is playing for time.
The seal is after a fish
That spins away from the mouth
The seal gives up the chase,
The woman is walking south.
The woman is cooking tea
In a caravan by the sea.
The fish is in the pan
And the seals are sailing south.
The river is widest at the mouth,
Where it turns towards the south.
The river is a silver ribbon
In a sea of silver-black.
The woman is a sea of mourning,
A sea of grief and salty tears
In the shadow of the morning
She shall not look back.
An old woman walked up a hill
She wished for sun and a view of the sea.
At the top of the hill was a seat in the sun.
The surf curled frothily below,
Her toes curled with pleasure.
The Sun eased the spasms in her back.
She thought herself young,
Or old ahead of her years.
She went down the hill quite content.
This is the season high country horses gather with their men
Sheep from upper slopes, barren, matagouri marred,
Where only wind and discarded wool remain
To be spun by later seasons.
In town the Ross Creek Reservoir mallards gather their clan,
Discussing mortality statistics for the year,
Water quality, the plight of their cousins:
Glistening irridescents, green.
This is the season Smith talks stags with his neighbour
Who buys a dozen by the crate, owns a twenty-two and some ammo
For a laugh, he says, for The Roar,
Never know what crosses your path.
Up in the frigid high country willows and poplars look scraggly, bald already,
But the hide’s as dense as ever
On the edge of the lake, geese, swans,
The paradise couple have settled for Life.
This is the season that opens a season.
Hunters prepare, daubed; armed to stalk in combat gear a favourite prey,
Painting landscapes in yarns of red and gold:
The blood of ruptured veins, celled chlorophyll drains.
While eternal hippies gather randomly, gatherers all,
To walk soft amongst long shadows and the last rays of sun on sun-warmed skin,
Their baskets for an apple or aggregate berry,
The hidden cluster in Autumn’s shade.
Written four years ago to the day, I find this poem still captures the essence of Autumn ‘down-under’ in a simple sort of way. I was living in Dunedin (Otago) at the time of writing, a place that perfectly emphasises lingering shadows and harsh high country frosts ….and the reality of writing to stop one’s fingers from freezing off!
Acknowledgement: the South Island high country for subject matter, and poet Robert Okaji for taking an interest in my blog and sharing his wonderful poem “What Edges Hold” http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/59487473/. That’s inspiration for today!
This month I went to my first bike rally. Not something I would usually do, but a good friend had brought his bright yellow “beamer” (BMW) over for the weekend, and there was no escaping the inevitable: to the bike rally we must go! I was pretty excited actually. So this was the scene: a grumbly, grey day with persistent drizzle, yet the Waimate showgrounds were packed with tents, bikes, black-clad leather bike riders, bikes… and more bikes. There was free tea and coffee too!
The dazzling array of speed-machines, polished metal and paint jobs was really quite mind blowing.
Not bad for a first time bike rally, really.