GATHERING THE TOHEROA
Somewhere, away inland, that we decay is
Less pleasantly recalled to us. Mortality
Arranges signs and wistfully flies
The sad gulls from us, where human pity
Or manly ambition are mainly irrelevant,
Fronted by surflines or warmly pondered
Arrested among dunes of spinifex.
Although you truly argue in this mood
The facts, of course, are frankly otherwise.
It is ambition which now regulates these dunes
Planning a future for them as a forest.
Pity perhaps is what presumes our taste,
Hearing of graves found by oven stones, an ear
Pendant recovered from solitary bones.
How one recurs, to graves and talk of bones.
Decay is the first most primitive order
Given this beach by its curious hidden creatures
To whom, loaded with diatoms, tides come
Seeding thirty close miles of sand with shells,
Living and dead sustained in one regimen:
Feed, propagate, be fed on; please someone; die.
Selected Poems. AUP 1989, p. 48.