Snow covered mountain peaks in the Tararua Ranges
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The Friday Poem: To Get Here, by Lynn Davidson

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

Aotearoa

Scotland

This and Here

The infield

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

 

of poetry

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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