Hot Summer Walk

On Auckland’s summer streets I seek the shady side
Under chattering clattering palms.
I tread on crisp puka leaves
That shatter like toast.

How long have those old people been slumped
On rattan chairs on that verandah
Under black karaka trees speckled with orange berries?

Those young fluoro people with flossy floppy hair,
How can they leap about, batting yellow tennis balls
Into the damp white  duvet air?

It is a long way between driveways 
Like a swim up river  – to pick up a child from kindy
Who will want to walk home bare foot,
Even though the pavement burns.

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Auckland Summer

On a concrete step in the shade
In my nightdress I sip tea.
It is 7 am. There is no wind.
The birds are singing.
Bees bulldoze the borage.

To my right shine chillies, basil, tomatoes,
To my left  one red plastic dump truck
With a yellow tip tray,
And a silver pedal car which is full of sand.

Soon the day will begin.
But right now it’s just me and the birds,
Ad there’s the neighbour, two doors down,
Having a noisy shower
With his small giggling daughter
In a bathroom with all the windows open.

*

Auckland Summer

On a concrete step in the shade

In my nightdress I sip tea.

It is 7 am. There is no wind.

The birds are singing.

Bees hoover the poppy flowers.

I have watered the seedlings and swept the courtyard.

 

To my right are terraces of flowers,

and silver beet, mint, parsley, sage.

To my left is a parking bay for

One red dump truck full of blocks,

One tricycle with no pedals

And a silver BMW pedal car which is full of sand.

 

Soon the sandpit lid will be raised

And the day will begin.

But right now it’s just me,

The birds, and the neighbour, two doors down,

Having a noisy shower

With his small giggling daughter

In a bathroom with all the windows open.

*

I send this poem to all those friends in Wellington who don’t seem to have had any summer at all.

Walk to the Estuary

Kuia bends in slack lagoon to show her moko

How to plunge elbow-deep for pipi.

Two black shags on bleached driftwood watch.

 

Godwits group to sew river’s hem of shot silk.

Two pied stilts shriek and dart, glare and stare. There!

Oystercatchers chug to and fro in pairs.

 

By myself. The rub of grit, squelch of grey silt,

Gleam and glug of sluggish river-bend water.

Deeper? I dare not cross.

 

Toes stuck in mud, ankles awash, I slouch,

Inelegant, inappropriate, immobile

As a beached, discarded couch.

 

A heron flies low and lazy, downbeat wings

Hanging like two beach towels –

Two wet beach towels, our bach verandah. Back then.

 

I bend and arm-plunge, collect chattering shells.

In my bag they will be convivial friends

And at the dinner table my quiet companions.

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swim-togs-bach

My Sapa Incas

Many sunrises we meet on top of the volcano,

Me walking up a rough track,

You, son, biking a road on the other side.

 

From a small boy wrapped behind you

A wind-born howl, “Grand ma. Grand ma,”

Arcs across the crater bowl.

 

I greet the bike, your sweat-sweet face,

Remove his helmet, unwrap him from his seat,

Place him precisely, proudly, on the peak.

 

My sun worship ritual over for the day,

We three walk home down golden rays

And normal life resumes its tarnished ways.

*

down mt