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BooksNovember 2, 2018

The Friday Poem: ‘Ode to Auckland’ by Ian Wedde


New verse by Auckland writer Ian Wedde.


from Ode to Auckland


When the weather warms up

I swim in the murky Waitemata

in the upper basin

at the bottom of Hamilton Road.

Sometimes my friend Jonathan

is there, he’s a composer

and swims about in a leisurely fashion

shifting his rhythm

from time to time

as if thrown off course

by the warm assaults

of a breezy wind section.




First swim of the summer

7 November 2015

bottom of Hamilton Road

6.30 p.m., chilly sun on

the Waitakeres, no clouds.




Second swim 8 November 2015

7 p.m. warm last sun.

Bashed out through choppy waves.




Down Hamilton Road in summer

the family homes

of the somewhat wealthy

glisten in their sheaths

of pearly white Solarguard.


The street is fragrant

with swooning datura

jasmine and frangipani.

In spring it was the jacaranda

that graced the berms of Hamilton Road

with its negligent mauve litter.


Through the mews-like chinks

in the street’s condo battlements

I glimpse the undiluted shimmer

of turquoise pool-water.


But across the wind-ruffled harbour

the Chelsea Sugar Works

flaunts its dingy terracotta turrets


and when I enter the sea

at the bottom of Hamilton Road

I swim towards that

decaying old heap of sweetness

with joy that verges on reverence.


Ian Wedde, 2018

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