new zealand electronic poetry centre


 Capital of  the minimal
B r i a n   T u r n e r

Otago Peninsula

There, beneath a portcullis of rain
lie the bones of time-rent men and women. 

They lie awash in the slush
that saddened and sometimes defeated them. 

Scabby hedges cling to the slopes
of hills yoked by sky. 

Here the whole range of earth’s colours
sprawl on paddock, stone wall and crumpled sea. 

Nothing is left untouched by sparse sunlight,
slanting rain, fists of wind punching 

the ribs of the land. Here, under tough grasses
and the crust of sheep and cattle tracks 

crumble the fondest dreams and prophecies.
No one came who stayed to conquer, no one came 

who was not beaten down
or turned away for another time.


[from Ancestors, John McIndoe]


© Brian Turner 2004


Last updated 11 July, 2004