New Zealand

The dark, drenched forest
was tinkling with tuis and bellbirds,
blind to the ledger book,
the bill of lading,
the glint in the eye of the ax.

Pious settlers wired the land for religion,
and switched on the lights.
The natives were dazzled,
but loved the portly man in the red suit
who gave them everything they wanted.

On the Historical Society outing,
we struggle for footholds
in whirlpools of organized ennui,
clutch at the slack rope
that cordons off irrelevant ancestries.

‘The end is not nigh,’
the Dom-Post tells its readers.
Doors are bolted against the wind,
the tick, tick of the electric fence
around eroded pastures.


First published in Southern Ocean Review