Thursday, July 15, 2010

On Makara Hill


On Makara hill, the wind
     sings in the struts
     of a radio mast.
Beauty is not only visual;
     this ugly construct makes
     a sad and lovely music
to draw me on and up
     through low cloud.
A dog. grey-white in
     the white-grey mist
     runs on ahead then
returns, disappearing and reappearing,
    the epitome of young
    joy in movement.
I plod behind, thankful that
    this ageing body
    can still bring me
here to the peace of emptiness.
    Around me gorse
    and barberry build
piles of scented gold.
    The wind gusts
    and clouds part.
A profligate sun showers
    more gold on the grey
    waters of the Strait and,
with alchemist fingers, turns
    distant snow-capped peaks
    to heaps of silver.
Such riches Midas never had.

Paul Hill

Paul Hill is an old friend. This poem appeared in this morning’s Dominion Post, as its weekly Thursday choice. It was first published in Broadsheet 5. My editor and fellow-poet Mark Pirie issues these broadsheets twice a year. The first one of the series in its chapbook form was based around the poetry of Alistair and Meg Campbell and proved very popular.

So I was chuffed when Mark asked me would I like to be guest for Broadsheet 5. He interviewed me, how I began to write poems and my subsequent career as a poet. There are several of my recent unpublished poems. As well he invited friends to contribute poems, Fiona Kidman, Ian Wedde, Diana Bridge and Tony Beyer. Diana wrote one specially for the occasion which delighted me.

Also Paul Hill. Until two years ago Paul and Lesley had a ten acre section and a bed and breakfast business on the road up the west side of Taupo. We used to break our journey to and from Auckland by staying overnight, sometimes two or three days to get some fresh country air and peace. Indeed, my last night outside Wellington was spent there in February 2007 on our way home from a Rotorua wedding and an Ohope holiday. They’ve retired now and live not far away.

Rather shyly Paul, at the end of last year, asked me to look at some poems he’d written. They looked promising and interesting so I sent them on to Mark. Mark said to tell Paul to keep writing and in a decade or so there could be a volume. Amusedly, I pointed out that Paul was my age so he’d better get cracking. Anyway, Paul also was chuffed to see himself in print. And now to be picked up by the ‘Dom’.

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