To S-S

You sometimes sit here at my table

And we share some wine and whimsy

But in the time honoured phrase:

“But not very often”.

 I feel from your recent letter

A withdrawal from life

To some private place of pain.

There is some mystery about you

It is not just the moans and groans

Of mood and moment

Of the female psyche

But some piece that is missing

And remains hidden from me.

I continue to run, defiantly

To meet life.

Dunedin, NZ — November, 1990

To S-S

Today as I walked through town
I was aware of seeing
With only two eyes
There wasn’t that internal dialogue
With you anymore.
I felt diminished by half.

As I entered the house that had S-S
Written everywhere
There was now a feeling of profound emptiness
That kind of calmness and stillness
From knowing that once again
You are alone in the Universe.

Dunedin, NZ — June, 1990

The India Experience

The images come tumbling out
The feminine beauty of the Taj Mahal
The masculine grandeur of the Red Fort
The boy with the smiling eyes
Posing with his pet python
For your camera — 20 rupees
And you bargain for 10 rupees
He has a laugh and you the picture
There is a life in the street hawkers
In the people taking the night air
Enjoying themselves without pretensions.
Everything is in a mild confusion
Boarding on chaos, like the traffic
Yet it moves with a flow.
There are spices for the tongue
Incense for the nose
Colours for the eye, music for the ear
Images for the mind, gods for the spirit
A touching and a caring for all.

Somehow in our cleverness
We have forgotten how to live.

New Delhi, India — November, 1989


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

With impunity.

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

While waiting at the Airport

All I really wanted to do was leave behind
A small book of poems.
Then Science came along and I had to know
‘What did it have to say about
The meaning of Life?’
It took me 25 years to resolve that question.
I am now a different person
But with that same wish.
In the meantime I’ve accumulated
The flotsam and jettison of a family,
An academic career
As well as the scars of the slings and arrows
Of passing time.

The cup of my ‘Drink’ poem
Now doth runneth over.

Dunedin, NZ — August, 1987

Purakanui — Easter Break

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