new zealand electronic poetry centre


Kendrick Smithyman

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After, Mister Nakamura succeeded in his business,
a popular sports good shop in Kyoto
carries just about anything a sporting person
might want. You name it and Mr Nakamura will,
otherwise he’ll try to, get it for you.
He has a soft spot for our countrymen,
identifies them readily, if asked confides
"Yes, I have visited New Zealand,
a strikingly beautiful place, fertile and peaceful."
He saw quite a lot of it, especially the North.

That was on a Sunday, very like today.
Early, quietly, the big sub surfaced seaward
   of White Island which was dramatically smoking.
They put out her float plane.
Mr Nakamura flew over the Bay, Tauranga, Waikato,
the Manukau, and Auckland. Visibility was fine.

Ships in port and ack-ack batteries
argued about him. Eventually, hotheads won,
they phoned in to report a Japanese float plane,
requested permission to open fire. Denied.
More telephoning, site to battery, battery to regiment,
regiment to Area to Combined HQ to Wellington.
On Tuesday Wellington ordered "Shoot Mr Nakamura
   out of our skies."

Like a competently benign angel Mr Nakamura passed
observing amiable state of wharfside Waitemata,
idyllic Gulf, something of northing coast,
then out to sea, looking for a convoy,
especially the big transport President Coolidge.
They had their timing wrong. Coolidge wasn’t
coming back, stuck on a reef in the Hebrides.

Mr Nakamura turning to base was naughty.
It makes him laugh now to think how daring he was,
"Just joyriding, sightseeing a bit.
I thought, Koji, you may never see this again."
Although he intends to year by year he has not
so far, business demanding him, but keeps
fond memories of his (he jokes) "Flying visit".

His command of (slightly outmoded) idiom comes
in handy, tourists generously respond.
Nostalgically he assures them, "Such a peaceful
land. Nobody shoots at you. Japan had
much to learn" and enquires,
"That big island, it is still smoking?"
Yes, indeed, it is still smoking.

Are You Going to the Pictures? AUP 1987, p. 83.



Last updated 11 May 2001