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Category: Thursday Poems

Kaka Point

The Thursday Poem
2 May 2019
Kaka Point
On the South Otago Coast, Kaka Point is most famously known as the place where Tom and Dorrie Gold had their cribs and crafted there together family memories that have become priceless anchors in the lives of their children and grandchildren. Hone Tuwhare, NZ poet also spent his latter days here. Filmed by Dorothy Jean. Set decorated by Heather Maxwell with her painting of the famed beach and lighthouse. For Tom Gold. Words below.
Kaka Point
I love this place
where the curve of the coast
skirts the rocky outcrops
that slide down to the southern ocean,
where the heaving, swelling, pumping
line upon line of white water
strikes shorewards
with an urgency that
has always mattered.

And always the roaring rush
of churning waves
carries on the air
and breaks the silence of solitude
where a hundred or more cribs stand,
drawing their masters
from the hinterland.
One can easily bury here
all thought of going back
to the burning heat
of the crowded streets
of the suburbs that have no end.
But for only one day more
I’ll caress this shore
where one before me walked
and in this moment
I’ll lend my ears to the swirling surf
and I’ll listen to it talk.
Mark Raffills

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The King’s Daughter

The Thursday Poem
25 April 2019
The King’s Daughter
Wrote this when Jess turned 21; revised it a bit last year. Says it all really, says it all. Words below…

The King’s Daughter For Jessica Jo

If he were a king
then a king’s daughter she would be
and the king would this treasure bare,
his daughter standing confident, beautiful,
a heart with no compare.

She makes her way with
stately flair on a path that winds
here and there, through dark forests cloaked
with some despair but buckled not by the weight
she is called upon to bear.

She walks unafraid
through the prowling wolves and meets them
eye to eye, she touches something
gold within, she knows the fire and the prize,
she has the strength to win.

On cold slabs of stone
in polished houses of queens and thrones
who rule and decree and seal
the lives cruelly of those whose tongues cannot speak,
she is both bold and meek.

And if truth be known,
truth is known thus, she walks for
those whose fate is sealed already,
in trust she stands before the courts of kings,
words of life or death they bring.

And the words are etched
like prophets’ writings on the wall
and she alone hears them speak as

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Lost to the hunger

The Thursday Poem
4 April 2019

Lost To The Hunger

Sometimes we should be counting the stars, bathing ourselves in moonbeams or skinny dipping in the black waters of the full tide – instead of cloistering ourselves away so that we fail to be touched by the magic of these and the other things that make us come alive.

Lost to the hunger
Tonight the full moon is centre stage
edged by golden-threaded clouds
that roll and tumble across the sky
holding back their deep, dark rage.

And from the brow of the hill, the estuary
glows in shadow and silver light,
aluminium foil, fragile to the cut of words
hidden behind tightly drawn curtains
where aces around the card table
count for more than the hungry
pull of the moon on the tide.

They say the fishing will be good tomorrow
with the ocean full upon the shore,
but the moon will be lost in the blue light;
lost to the hunger and the will to fight.

Mark Raffills

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Closest to the sun

Every day we crossed the causeway to our home on Best island. Every day we passed vans and cars parked beside the waters. We paid little attention to the young woman camping there until our neighbour found her in the tree one Sunday morning. It is reported that 668 New Zealanders took their own lives last year.

Closest to the sun
Was there nothing left to turn the corner of your mouth into a smile?

Were the darts of darkness so piercing that no promise could kiss life to your lips?

Did you know black, burnout rubber from the tyres of a hundred cars
would be the flowers that wept beside your lifeless body found on Sunday morning?
You came to this hanging tree
to carve your name into the strength of its trunk
beside the tide, beneath the sun.

You were looking for a stairway to heaven
to lift you beyond the clutches of bleak weather forecasts

and the darkness that would not pass.

You bathed your body in the estuary waters,
a ritual cleansing- call to those of us who passed by.
With a dog at your side and your body caressed
by the morning breeze,
you reached for something that had
always eluded your grasp on childhood.
The giant in the kids’ story
lifted the child to a sturdy branch;
plucked her from the raging winter
of her restless discontent
to the haven of a garden tree.
And there the hurricane and the whirlwind
bowed to summer on bended knee.
You believed in fairy tales
but when the hanging tree reached for you,
you raised your arms in surrender
and stood upon the roof of your car
to reach for the highest bough
closest to the sun.
Below you there were no places

of safe haven for your heart.

There was nothing beneath your feet
when you stepped into the void
and flung your arms to embrace the summer
in your own small corner of the garden.

They flayed like broken wings
clutching at the air beneath the tree,
beside the waters of the estuary
lapping at full tide on a lazy Sunday morning.

The bitter embrace of darkness
closed in on your last breath
and you were gone.
Your single coin buried in the dust,
no longer to be traded
against the days of wonder.
The chainsaw is silent now.
A sparrow lights upon the stump of the hanging tree,
the brass plaque attached there

your only return
from a bad investment
that took you for all you were worth.
Mark Raffills

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