A new poem by 2021 Randell Cottage Creative NZ Writer in Residence Lynn Davidson.
To get here
I drove through the Kaimanawas (which is the old forest,
survivor of brutal winters/ or the wild horses streaming over tussock/
or the mountain range)
And which translates as treasure or eat the wild
or heart-eater or breath-eater
Which are the slippages of poetry
impossible to know if I’m there, and I’m not there
until, suddenly, I am
making small revisions to home, like rivers do
with their movement.
It’s a cold morning and the earth is black
with sulphur yellow vents blowing hot steam and
I walk into high mist
This and Here
tadpoles in the concrete trough
your vowels at my table
in my mouth
I have been participating
in the word – Scotland –
we have been moving through each other
like fish and light and water through water.
Sitting cross-legged beside my Scottish grandfather
in the Tinakori Hills
above Wellington city where his son,
my father, is playing accordion for the Polish club –
he has been practising the minor chords
all day. We are waiting for him to finish.
We are waiting to go home. My grandad
my nana, my sisters, my brother and my mother,
in our stolen-wealth country that is
regularly left off maps.
Which made my father happy. He’d never been to Scotland
and never wanted to go back. Which made my mother
lonely for a country her mother
never went to, but called home.
Like my father
– my old friend from the battleground – I’m happy
to be from unacknowledged country, lets
hold our pain invisible against our chest, lets hold
our parent’s pain there too – it’s
just another lump of dirt, he’d say.
But here I am, and here it is,
and the ragged comforts of form and beauty still hold.
I drove through the Kaimanawas to get here.
To dip my hand in the icy water of the trough,
wanting the bunched slippery orbs of becoming
to brush my fingers. To hear
their plip plip sounds
those little flicker-in-water sounds that translate as
heart-eater or breath-eater
or eat the wild
which are the slippages of
wild vowels at my table
in my mouth
The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again later this year.
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