Saturday, September 19, 2009

Near Kaeo

I’ve been sitting watching a tui in the large hebe outside my study window. Such a handsome bird. It's unusual to have one so still for long.

A poem which I’m pleased to have written is:


Hills are lit as for McCahon, mangroves
reflect the slanted sun, tourist coaches
race across the reclaimed flats while placid
Friesians graze between the arum and the flax.

Near here, early Wesleyans, their wives as well,
sought by action to turn their needs into belief –
also profit. Did they pause to watch the evening
hills lit like this? Diaries tell of tribal alarms,

shipwrecks, forbidding peaks, obedience, sermons
and the fires of hell; letters speak of muskets,
flour and faith, of planting acorns, sinners,
schism and defeat. By all accounts a dour people.

We their heirs, must judge with much less haste
lest our descendants be equally unkind to us,
their unrepentant forebears, who haven’t sailed
half a world nor ever tried to build Jerusalem.

We were staying at Paihia and had driven to Cape Reinga for the day – a long and tiring drive but well worth-while. It’s a unique spot and encapsulate mythic issues. It’s the only time I’ve been. I’m pleased to have the experience. Back at the motel I jotted down the outline of this poem. A little polishing and it was ready.

I had been reading a history of the Wesleyan settlement at Kaeo. The idea in the last stanza is a hobbyhorse of mine. We are so quick to disapprove of past generations. They also had their dreams and beliefs and in this instance made great sacrifices to implement them.

Yesterday, when Anne took Dorothy our cat to the vet, for what we both believed was the last time, I had an emotion which I’ve been trying to analyse. Was it sexist or chivalric. I felt it was my responsibility to take the animal. And my ill-health prevented me.

Anne, this morning, cleaned my electric razor. I do not have the manual dexterity. Enough said.

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