Pukapuka Books


Friday, July 9, 2010

Poem #49 'Dedikation to Graeme Collins' - Michael O'Leary

Dedikation to Graeme Collins – a man of our times

Seeing you there, lying in the bed of a hospice
Each breath struggling to become your last
The bones of your body sticking through your skin
You looked like one of those terrible survivors
From Auschwitz or Belsen, condemned to living
Death, by your own internal cancer-nazi killer

So full of life, knowledge and aroha were you
Only a few short months ago. Your life had
Spanned and eclipsed all our lives – you were at
The forefront, leading and living your life through
Philosophy and ideas embodied in the Chinese
Word for music, which translates as enthusiasm

Riding into town from suburban obscurity
Long before Upper Hutt Posse had been heard of
Or were even born! That photo of you holding
The first brought Beatles ticket in Wellington
Later you were the first, with the cleaning lady,
To hear the Sergeant Pepper’s album in New Zealand

Dedikation was the name of the band you played in
It was also the word you lived your life by
Whatever you believed in became your passion
Whether it was saving the Clutha or the Coromandel
With your Irish-rebel sounding name and demeanour
Living on the edge, and open drug-doors of perception

Such a life is often not easy to live with, either
By the one who lives it, or those who share it
But even those lovers who left still loved you deeply
Never stopped caring for you, nor you for them
The true artist you were in many manifestations
Was always infused by love, as true art always is

The opera we worked on together remains unfinished
Hinemoa and Tütänekai frozen, like Keat’s urn, in time
At least in our interpretation, but as with all love stories
The words and music we were writing will be continued
By the next generation riding into town from the suburban
Wilds, inspired by the underdogs and outlaws of their art

Brother, Graeme Collins, in a mixture of our understanding and indignation
Your death, like your life, echoes the high times and tides of our generation

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