new zealand electronic poetry centre


Ian Wedde


for Joanna & Jeffrey & Ingrid Magdalena



The sea does not
                              meet the sky. They kiss only
in our minds. They are priceless
                                                        in that space
which recedes forever
                                       where we make them lovers

                             O my dear friends I reach out
as though across the sea
                                             to embrace you
between sea & sky
                                 or between earth & sky, that space
where the imagination feels your warm
                                                                    breath upon its cheek.



Teraweka, Sleeping Indian, Signal,
                                                              Flagstaff, Cargill, Saddle,
& those other
nameless hills
just beyond the public ridges
                                                   which frame, as it were,
the world we can admit: we come upon
                                                                     those others
as we come upon certain ideas,
                                                        a hinterland, that we know
but pass through always
                                           going to somewhere,
a friend’s place, say, or a place
                                                       where friends were once –
‘those others’: ideas
                                    like the idea of an endless space
where sea
                  & sky kiss,
ideas without names,
                                      beyond the frame of the world.



This is a letter
                        which must travel through that hinterland
without knowing its destination.
                                                       Or perhaps it is returning
by way of the same
                                  anonymous familiar hills,
a sign
            that friends have gone, that the house
(on the cliff, by the small lake, in the meadow,
                                                                                in any case
there, there, stop!)
                                has been drawn into that hinterland
where we cannot stop, because the space
                                                                           goes on forever,
the embrace goes on
                                      forever, as the horizon,
which eye & mind
                               unroll                   a highway
             forever to where you are.



How can I speak of the
                                         sadness in this? The infinite
regression of love? The weariness
                                                             of that distance?
In that same space, in the
                                             imagination, you are embraced!
By way of those highways,
                                                of the heart, you are always closer.
Day by day, more of the hinterland
                                                              is named:
Communion, Love, Imagination –
                                                            these hills are dark,
wooded, sometimes alight
                                              with yellow flowers,
a dogged clasping
                of gorse, barberry, kowhai, broom, lupin, ragwort.
The road follows their perfumes.
                                                From the summits of the hills
we look out at the sea
                                       turning forever to the sky.



Auckland: AUP1977, 43-45

Ian Wedde 

Last updated 27 November, 2009