new zealand electronic poetry centre

S o m e   s h e l l s   i n   a   t o b a c c o   t i n

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                                                                                                                Nelson Wattie

Evening in Otago

A line of hills grows green
And blue and brown and purple:
So many shades and tints
That eyes must do the talking.

Tongue, fall still. The sun
Both clear and soft, is fading,
And as it passes changes
Hills and sky, defying

Words. Thought, be still.
This is the hour when birdsong
Stings and startles minds,
Cruel and shrill and living.

The ground beneath our feet
Is hard and dry and bristles
With thin pricks of grass
That give no thought to greening.

Across the plain and through
The valleys comes a darkness,
Borne on bitter wind,
And thought reverts to ending.

Night will follow.