H  O  M  E    &    A   W   A   Y      2  0  1  0
   n z e p c
Ian Wedde   

All Together Now: A Digital Bridge for Auckland and Sydney             


Another bottle of oil

Up there

Up there on the podium and backlit
through a ribbed paper blind

you were little more than
the filled-in outline

of a thin man in a pale jacket.
Your voice,

too, was a rice paper
membrane upon which ghostly

shadows played. A deliberate
undertaking to 

keep digressing
across substantial topics like

dying and cooking
was what made

the membrane quiver. So did
the tense thought

shaping words
that then drummed upon

the membrane of your voice,
meticulous and calm

but also impatient
because what would be the point of getting

straight to it? Only fools
believe the sun must rise tomorrow,

when the red-eye
heaves its shining bulk above

the hilltop profile of Mount Crawford
prison, a place well stocked

with the credulous.
The jet’s vapour-trail,

incisive but ephemeral,
evaporates before

its destination can be plotted,
like an unready thought preparing

the silence
it will fall into.

By contrast,
the edge of the blade

must pause for conversation
or the meditative
courtesy of listening
before it descends

on the thick pink
muscle tissue
of your next meal.
If, like me,

you decline to eat meat,
replace that image

with another, a shiny,
plump aubergine

perhaps, but don’t forget the point:
the knife, if sharp, will

make a meal
of its subject

without the need for conversation.
That’s why it’s better

to be perverse
and make them wait, and talk


the famished guests,
because you wouldn’t want

the world of inevitable sun-
rises and the daily miracle

of flight to end
hastily, in the ungrateful

geysered vomit of
gluttonous fate.


Down here

Down here the summer evening slips
behind the paediatrician’s place

and the late shadow
of his family home

cools our deck which, until
the light began to fail, was where

a detente of cats, stupefied by heat,
had the appearance

of peace. But under cold
stars, when scents

suspire sharply and darkness
edits detail

from the ambiguous mass
of night vision, the cats

begin to curse
or serenade their neighbours.

Even if
like me

you can’t
tell the difference

you’d have to believe
it exists.

By contrast,
at dawn and dusk since

early spring, a song-thrush has
perched atop a power pole in our street

and ‘sung his heart out’.
I say ‘his’ because

he must be serenading and
Darwin’s Second Law
(Sexual Selection)
tells us it’s

the males who make
displays of themselves. And now

that summer’s under way
there’s another bird, way up in the

Green Belt, a plaintive chime of four
minor key notes. Over

and over,
from dawn to dusk.

sound like a serenade

and even less
like a threat. What

could it be
all about, this

sad song that
always begins

and never



©Ian Wedde