new zealand electronic poetry centre


Kendrick Smithyman

online works


What does a traveller see, looking north
from Brynderwen over the arc of Bream Bay,
through summer’s lens defining
distance from places under turning
habitual cloud, steeped in his casual day?
Where that tourist marks neither faith nor death
but drives from the height on his way,
where a cloud lengthens from land to sea,
definitely is silence.

Ultimately silence
alienates tourists by the strict sea,
nor on river flats find any way
to escape wholly innocent – sad tense of death
gets below skin, completes the verbs of day.
What place means is always a turning
ignorantly, beyond defining?
We have no right words to speak by that Bay
where the dead rise on their hills, looking north.

Selected Poems
. AUP 1989, p.25.



Last updated 11 May 2001