Monday, March 15, 2010

Hard to Find

When I began working in the old Department of Education Head Office in the Old Wooden Building in the 1970s I had a medley of emotions. There was the challenge of a new job. There was the frustration of being desk-bound. I was living at Papakowhai and coming to work by train.

Here is a poem I wrote at the time. On the blog I lose the free verse appearance but the tone is an apt reminder of that period of my life. It was not a cheerful time.

hard to find
the appropriate word for sunrise

balances uncertainly across the inlet as
I wait for my train

& a heron
by movement
to stillness

across the water
hills colliding with spaces
cattle immobile
& painted like childhood’s gaudy toys graze
beneath cabbage trees
each leaf countable

usually its only the bitterness of coffee after
shaving that heals the night’s long amputation

this morning’s ambush
escorts me through the rattling tunnels
people hacking
yawning, gossiping
to stride to work
smile at the sentries
make crude signs to telephone callers
contemplate the mail

for a while
the foolishness if blatant, obvious until
the restraints return
& the paper-chase begins again

hard to find
(elusive the appropriate definition of)
the only world I can & do inhabit.

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