new zealand electronic poetry centre

Dinah Hawken

online works


Thinking about Forgiveness

The v in give
is a valley
you can walk down.

You might see
the old shack
where the fucker still lives.

Forgive me
about forgiveness.

It can be a bowl
of luke-warm, stagnant water.

The mountains rising
on either side
are cold and hard
and block out the sun.

A thousand times in my mind
I have stood outside
this rotting door.

Forgiveness is loved by the ones
who pray in pure snow.

This man raped a child.
His sin is unforgiveable.

Tell your big God
that I have been here
a thousand times
intending to tear a human being
to pieces.

But this time I am talentless
and frail and don't know
if I can forgive my own sterility.

The shack is quiet. Overhung
by heartless trees.

Since forgiveness
is the least sentimental
act in any language
how forgiveable
will his face
turn out to be?

A tui comes,
like kindness,
sings joy
and suddenly leaves.

See how birds,
mountains and trees,
unblaming and blameless, are free.

Why on earth
am I down here when I could be flying
over this dark valley in a small plane
in full sunlight, oblivious?

It might be the only sin.

I am too hard to forgive.
Could something bold
in the neutral, natural world,
in which I am kin,
help me to open this door,
softly, expecting anything?

(First published in Landfall 205 [May 2003])

Dinah Hawken

Last updated 14 December, 2004