‘everything has its shadow’
From the midnight & frosted plain
there is a whistle
The passageway recedes
behind me going out
over cemetery hill
down Lucknow Road, walking
in the middle
· · ·
At ¼-to five the alarm
like a concrete mixer
wires into my brain.
Mother, bent over
her little hero
watches him wake/break open
the warm air, becoming
wary of her
At five he’s with the wind, uphill
cycling the dark regions
The vendor leaves two cold crates
of milk under canvas
a soft wheel lorry under dew.
the street end, by the end house
& into the mare’s leftover grazing paddock.
The morepork’s caesura deepens: yeh
& it was
my last year
in primary school
· · ·
U n d u l a t e
COME IN THE VOICE of the day!
the landswell at the root of one’s bed
leaves among stones.
The unit doors switch shut
& we are racing the last leg to the Capitol
—the hole takes us (NGAURANGA)
& again breaks the news
of our arrival.
(A goodstrain crosses the Heretaunga
there is its whistle
· · ·
As the nightmare recurs I lay my hands
seeming too thin, across my plexus—
it comes from the ‘living’room
along the hall, into my bedroom
stands, up close, then
passes thru me! I wake
retching a segment of apple rind ‘air’
the candle flicking close to my
And there the wet-nurse hangs
face draped in grey flannel
across the chair
· · ·
O nightjar morepork
you are the bluegum grove,
hoop & spring the playing-field away. . .
I turned, they came—lime green euclids
scraping off the orchard, and withered tomato stakes
in the Woodford College gardens:
black doris plums in
the old gardeners retiring
Nigel’s sister pulling her pants down
giving her parents the bum.
The cottage forty feet above the field then
the plums in long grass squashing
between our toes
· · ·
O the goodstrain rides the shining lines
down the Coast
leaving homesick the Te Aute boys
to return in sleep.
The blood & sinew smell of Awatoto
the rind of northern sky-night still
Oxygen drips in the water cylinder
the kitchen table splits.
Following the path of sunrise
round the hill the house returns
before me streaming
past the ear of Kahungunu, leaving
footprints in the mushroom
& dew-webbed grass.
Wakes me wakes me father bent
& blows the candle
From Public (Dunedin: Ridge-Pole, 1980)
© Graham Lindsay