I feel like a beached whale
With a cramp in my leg
And stiff knees
Washed up on the shores
Of a former self
Trying to reconnect
After a holiday at Surfer’s Paradise
Theme parks and swimming pools
And child minding.
It is a still night with moths
Bumping at the windows
Seeking the light.
Are we so foolish
Attracted by the glitz
Of modern day middle-class life?
I remember somewhere vowing
I would rather die then become middle-class
— And maybe I have
Without realizing it.
Dunedin, NZ — January, 1994
The usual rites of arrival
Are a dram of whiskey
And a long gaze into
The distant hills and the sea.
This time three workman are clamouring
And hammering at the guts
Of the crib.
Questions of how high
Do you want the shower?
What lighting do you want
Sheets of iron and old timber
After dealing with the minutiae
I was ready for a long walk
Along Long Beach.
Purakanui — March, 1993
You are not a scientist
Biology is not a science
What a relief!
As a story-teller
I can now tell stories about biological things
It clears the dilemma
Of trying to be a scientist and a writer/poet.
So we are left with ‘scientific’ toys
To play with
And stories to tell.
Purakanui — January, 1988
Above the sound of the neighbour’s chainsaw
Thoughts return to earlier days
Back to the poems with which I started life.
What was it I wanted to do?
I wanted to experience life
Its joys and its sorrows
Without being shielded from its extremes
And so it was.
I’ve had a rich and varied life
Especially in regard to female companions.
I have not sought to escape life
But have lived it
And pondered on its different philosophies
But to what purpose?
So that I could one day
In a quiet place
Write some poems about life
And draw together the threads of my experience.
Purakanui — April, 1987
It is a long journey to Purakanui
And the retracing of the steps in the sand
At Long Beach.
I’ve forgotten, is the moon full or new
Or does it still shine in the night sky?
I come here as one lost in the cares
Of the material world.
While here this batch waits
Silently, patiently without reproach
Giving comfort to a weary traveller.
How many more miles to travel yet
Through this vale of tears
Called Life in the West?
Purakanui — May, 1985
A rusty muse writes:
It was a summer like those
You remembered in your childhood
Sunny days that were
Joined together in an endless daisy-chain.
Days when you took a siesta from the sun
Under the shade of a tree
And listened to the intense, hypnotic
Buzz of insect life.
Those days when the brown of the hills
Was matched by the brown of your skin.
Days when you moved in harmony
With sunrise and sunset.
This was such a summer.
Purakanui — March, 1985
My task is now complete.
I’ve taken you as high and as far
As I know how.
It is up to you to fill in the details
And carry on.
I can see that you can easily
Outstrip me having youth and energy
In your favour.
I like the crafty fox must withdraw
Making my exit
Through a mandala-shaped opening.
Purakanui — May, 1980