Thursday, February 26, 2009

A List

My condition means I tend to review the past. A few weeks back I wrote a list which I thought could be a basis for a poem. Of course, a list is merely representative. The events of a lifetime are manifold. Anyway, here it is.

Moments that will never occur again

Going to Quilters to look for old masters or bargain books
Driving to Franz Josef
Putting a roast with yams in the oven
Seeing the Sydney Harbour Bridge beyond the Opera House
Digging new spuds
Teaching poetry
Making love
Climbing a hill
Swimming in a hot pool
Luxuriating in a warm bath
Sipping g&t over the Indian sub-continent
Letting off fireworks, Guy Fawkes Night
Cooking for friends
Admiring the mosques of Ishfahan
Picking up a billiard cue
Drafting sheepTaking the cat to the vet
Representing New Zealand at a UNESCO conference in Geneva
Dining with a Prime Minister on the evening of his retirement
Cutting manuka
Erecting a tent
Painting a house
Building a fire
Riding a camel
Chairing a meeting
Walking to the city through the Botanic Gardens

But of course there are still fresh moments. Last evening Lesley and Paul Hill brought Derek and Lyn Challis to meet us. Derek is Robin Hyde’s son. He was 8 when she died. He talked about her family. He met her mother twice but had a lot to do with his mother’s sister Edna. His foster-parents lived for a while in a construction camp north of Wairoa while they were building the rail line to Gisborne. He recently went back there - it is just empty paddocks now. I was reminded of Robin’s descriptions of the building of Arapuni dam on the Waikato. Derek talked about her poems, his favourites and how he’d spent the afternoon exploring the setting of the poem The White Seat. It was fascinating.
Yesterday Anne took Dorothy our cat - when we got two kittens we had just returned from a visit to Britain, so she and her brother we named after the Wordsworths, he whined a lot and she bustled around - to the vet to have an infected tooth removed. On her return she made a bee-line to my bed and cuddled up at the foot and stayed there all night. Part of me says it’s devotion, another part says she merely knows which side her bread is buttered.
Today it was my turn. We went to Bowen Hospital to have two growths removed from my ear. For forty years I’ve had growths burnt off or cut out, the price I pay for a sunlit youth - vitamin D was seen as essential for health.

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