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Friday, June 4, 2010

Pukapuka Poem #14 - Michael O'Leary

6.15 Waiheke Ferry to Auckland, Wednesday 20 July, 1983

The line of the low hill undulates
As I keep my head still
And let the boat do all the . . .
                                                       movement

Darkness shrouds my journey but
There is light
In the sky the stars and the moon shine like pearls
Waves break along the bow
White foam almost frozen by the cold
I am in tune with the natural melancholy
I move like an iceberg from shore to shore

For me this is the end of journey and beginning
Dressed in black, I resign
For years I have travelled in pursuit
You made sure I was always one step behind
Covered your trail whenever I got close

From the safety and calm of the bay
The ferry now sails into open waters

Rangitoto reminds me of you
Looks the same from any angle
Except close-up
But the sky is not on fire tonight
And, if I am alight it is with the fire of ice

Two lovers come on deck
They feel the chill in the night air
When they turn and see me, dark and still
Perhaps they feel another chill . . .
                                    they leave for the cabin
This evening takes on a rare quality
This boat could be anywhere
                                    if it weren’t so cold
We might be travelling from
                                    one Greek Isle to another
And I might be anyone
                                    instead of thinking of you
I could be in the warm arms of a lover . . .
But I wouldn’t have it any other way
Austerity has a beauty all its own

I try to imagine from which position
North Head was named
Why not South Head etc
You are fading from me
I am being engulfed by the lights
                                    and distractions of the city
I try to think of why I love you
But things are moving too fast
                                    the boat is making up lost time
                                    the boat is making up lost time
With Auckland upon us people emerge from inside
I find I am talking to someone
                                    he has been chopping trees at his section

My friend who waits for me on the wharf
Greets me with a jovial “Hello sailor!”
Immediately I get ashore we go to a pub
Where I down a double whiskey to break the ice

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