I KNOW A LAND WHERE THE BELLBIRD CALLS

Cold schist and black manuka,
shadow riven, gully washed.
Bronze beech and greening poplar,
arrow sharp, cobble tossed.

Fierce as life the land is rising,
cleanly carved by stream, by burn.
Shot with light on weathered furrow,
tussock pitted, silvered fern.

Young as snow and twice its lustre,
new as worlds once were of old.
Braced by breath and wind and weather,
twining rivers, mountain gold.

 

LOVESONG

When the world has spun its orbit
in its harsh unceasing path,
and the endless winter sunset
has had done with fire and ash.
Then the time is ripe for loving,
a kiss to shame the past,
and I tear the stars in roving
to come home to you at last.

 

THERE IS SOMETHING TO BE SAID

There is something to be said
for mud.

For sturdy, worn-in soles
and unexpected weather.

(I heard a boy once shout this
at the head of Danseys Pass.)

There is something to be said
for thyme.

For wild, woody roses
and clumps of stubborn heather.

(Laughed my mother to my father
– she was born a trifle touched.)

There is something to be said
for age.

For growing old and growing deep
and keeping things to chance.

(That was Jack from up the Arrow
who enjoys his little glass.)

But the adage I remember
came from no one overmuch:

There is something to be said
for speech.

For telling truth to love
and hearing how you stand.

 

ON HEARING OF A GRANDMOTHER ABUSING HER GRANDDAUGHTER

Came the sou’wester
with the howl of the wind,
on a day of lonely skies –
grey without, blue black within.

It tore the blooms off cherry trees,
ripped tiles from their roots,
and buds were stripped off mother plants
and cracks appeared in roofs.

Ceaseless pounding, noise resounding,
chapped and sore and reddening skin.
Came the sou’wester
with the howl of the wind.