new zealand electronic poetry centre


Kendrick Smithyman

online works


Iím not going to try describing that run
from down by the creek where it starts being
a river, up to the ridge where everything falls
away westward. For the first time again
you look out on a sea bigger, further, than remembered.
Although, you have waited for it
                                                  from down there
where shabby, ramshackle, derelict are just terms
for occupation. An abandoned railway lineís last
station, scruffy general store also garage,
wornout fridges at roadside where used to be
old milkcans for meat and mail; after,
that place where the post office was and the school
then, and then where the school before that was.
Itís all sheep now.
                            God, how many years of it
passing through, passing by. I was transported,
have driven, drive. Going from here to there,
thatís text. And another text, and one more, rewritten.
The seeing part, and saying part:

I said to one wife, replied.
I said to another wife, replied.
Each, another text, another saying, another seeing.
Neither did the one see or other say but yet
what one saw another has or has not said,
while I am telling one what I am thinking / said
to other ("Around this bend used to be
a hell of a big pothole Ė whang! Still is")
as if it were always true. We live by
whatís past made over ĎAs ifí, so many milkcans,
so many projects for the future

You canít step twice into the same river.
What you first dipped toe in was only as if, truly.
But when you get up on the top, and the sea
is there, the remembering of it as well
from before first perhaps, thatís another
part of a text and feels like
                                 the same again.
Heraclitus was only talking about rivers,
or about when a shallow creek running over stone
begins to think that itís a river.

Selected Poems. AUP 1989, p. 147.



Last updated 11 May 2001