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Twitter Poems

NEEDLE & THREAD
There is a hole in my heart
that the wind rips through
with a hollow howl,
it is frayed and torn
around the edges,
and there is no thread
can ever mend it.

THE BEGINNING
In the light of the midnight stars
he examined his heart, shifted
what needed to be shifted;
and with the breaking dawn
he set his course
and stepped out on the road.

HOME COMING
Puponga opens its arms
in a welcome deeper than
the cracks in his heart;
he rests in its sweet embrace
tells himself he could be
happy here, tells himself
he could call this place home.

The CIRCLE
There is no end
to ‘never ending;’
the stars and moon
give way to the sun
who gives way
to the stars and moon
and the end begins
again and again.

HE HAS A PHOTOGRAPH
He sits quietly behind
the glass window
looking down the valley
at the play of light
on leaf and tree rippling
in the spring breeze;
this, he muses, a photograph
at peace with the camera.

STARTING OVER
It is too great
this starting over,
setting up house
when he ought to be
enfolded in her arms
on the old couch,
heart dancing like
flames of fire
in the old hearth,
he, laughing at the times
that brought him this far.

END OF THE LINE
There was the signing of the papers,
keys were handed over
and the pieces of forty years
were made into a mosaic,
a cute memorial, a paving stone
on the road to nowhere.

TAKEN-FOR-GRANTED NORMAL
The hum of the lawn mower,
the song of spring,
this the simplicity,
the order of things,
the taken-for-granted normal
that swings by with
the turning of the seasons;
that swings by
your neglected heart.

SAM
She can’t outrun
the silver tears
beneath the moon
on a long shore;
cleansing stream
runs down her cheek
beneath the moon
on a long shore.

THE MORNING AFTER
They split up on a dark, sad night
both agreeing it was best;
the dawn was never so alone,
the heart never so forlorn.

LIVING IN THE CITY
It is the weekend,
slow days of little to do
but remake the week
in our heads;
It is the weekend,
slow days of waiting
before we return
to the week ahead.

HEALING
These words may become a dressing
for the wounds inflicted by reason;
the poet understands little of what he writes,
but still, healing comes in time and season.

THE COUPLE
He shall live in his house
and she shall live in hers,
they shall meet to attend the theatre
or to share a drink at the bar;
and when the night is over
they shall retire to their houses,
one to his and one to hers.

DANCE OF THE MOON
The solitude of Puponga is for sale,
no footprints on the edge of the lagoon
no swimmer in the light of the moon;
the long shadows by streetlights cast
are restless in their wanderings,
here the moon cannot dance.

PONDERING
Weary grows the heart
of the heavy moon
that sits low in the dark cloud,
that casts a last light
on the walls of the room
at Puponga.

THE STAFF
Who will sound the horn
When hope lies forlorn
Who knows the way ahead
When faith is ripped to shreds;
Whose arms are open wide
When love is a cracked cymbal
Who will stand in the doorway
When blood fades from the lintel.

THE PRICE
This is the grief we carry,
this is the song we sing,
and this is the weight we bear;
this is the price of friendship,
this is the road we travel
and this is the burden we share.

FATHERS’ DAY
The old men wished each other
a happy fathers’ day, they smiled
at the world and told each other stories
of how the children had won their hearts
and rebuilt love in their own image.

CHAPTER AND VERSE
Shall the pages of the book be closed
upon this story written long ago
or are there yet words to unfold
and more of this story still to know.

AFFECTION
There is warmth
when we make love,
the shadows dance like fire
across the flickering wall
and we are content
to waltz in three/four time.

WISDOM
A small bottle of whisky
for each of the wise men,
yet their wisdom was thin
and they could not raise him
from the darkness within
but they sat at his bedside
all the while.

FAIR WEATHER SAILORS
“How long does a friendship last,”
he asked.
“For as long as it takes
for the storm to pass,”
came the reply.
“And then we will sail
the weather fair, under
a clear and faithful sky.”

BIRTHDAY
A cold heaven, 75 years long,
pizza in a cardboard box,
morning sun on the sidewalk
but a bleary-eyed candle,
the song fades away
angels leave the choir
to find its own voice.

WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
One thousand and fifty-nine days
are the days since he ascended,
one thousand and sixty-nine days
their wedding anniversary
she celebrates alone
her heart full of nowhere to go.

AT CAPE FAREWELL
The wind whips the bluffs
at Cape Farwell,
he can be seen pushing
his way on the track,
his hair in a tangle,
water streaming from his eyes,
I wonder if he made it through,
I hope he makes it back.

OF TEA AND ORANGES
Tonight, let your dreams
be of tea and oranges
and the distant north
where the warmth
of the citrus tree
has been known
to cover old bones
with the flesh of youth.

THE IRON ROD
Brought low by the constant
hammering of a distant grief,
he hurls the iron rod as far
back in time as it will go.

DISPLACEMENT
Lapping water
like a new pup
from the stainless-steel bowl
in the corner of the kitchen;
out on the moonlit shore
whisky sits in the glass,
golden in a moment
of contentment.

RESIGNATION
Resignation laps at the shore
like the incoming tide
that slowly pulls the covers
over the use-by date,
over the last hope
that the wild love of yesterday
can ever return.

THE OTHER LIFE
Further up the valley,
after the flood,
he was found
in someone else’s home,
biding his time,
sorting out their dream,
sorting out her dream,
from his own.

WHAT MATTERS
Between the pieces
of the broken moments
that force their way
into our lives,
we polish
the high calling
of our brother’s keeper

WEAVE OF LIFE
On a bed of stones we sometimes lie
where the sun is warm upon our skin,
here in this discomfort, bitter-sweet,
the dream builds itself to be complete
while the weave of life stops and starts
where the flame of each new year begins.

ANNIVERSARY FOR A FRIEND
It's a strong chord
It's a woven thread
It's the power of love
It’s the words we said
Bonded together
By the wine and the bread.

DIAGNOSIS
It is raining
grey and heavy,
relentless the hounding
of time and the curse,
the withering
and the dying,
the broken promise
the stone and the bread,
the gathering darkness,
hand thrust into
the crack that
splits the cloud.

FROM HIS SIDE
I shall never be far from his side,
from the sea water lapping at Puponga
or from the crack in his heart
that lets the chill wind through;
I shall never be far from his side
where ever his side may be,
even sojourned in the city
far from the edge of the sea.

TREE OF LIFE
Tormented by existing,
he swallowed his tongue
and lost the wild songs
by which he once lived and loved;
tormented by existing,
he broke the iron drought
and watched the river flow,
water to the tree of life.

SWAGGER
Call me from the far shore
tell me you have found
what it was you were sent looking for
when you left remote Puponga;
all you owned and nothing more,
a swag upon your shoulder,
you quietly opened the back door
and no one saw you leaving.

GHOST SHADOWS
Fog rolls in
Fills the space
Where all things
Once were;
Ghost shadows
Of ourselves
Glide by
Without a sound.

SELF PORTRAIT
He sees himself as only he can see,
little else can be known or understood
nothing is revealed or delivered;
self portraits are not such a good measure
of the man who dwells within
or of the man who is outside known.

A MINOR KEY
He is building a rough shelter for his heart,
a star forces its way through the thatch
and throws a cold light across his face;
the wind wriggles through the woven cracks
of the weave, sits with him and sings
a low song in a minor key.

END OF THE LINE
It's the end of the line
it’s the song they sing,
Orbison’s chair is empty
but joy is what they bring;
travelling the road somewhere
destination round the bend,
a haven of hope
built on the back of despair.

TO BE HIMSELF
As far as the horizon lies from the shore
so too his heart from the ‘do this’
daily chore; kindly he does speak,
a tidy space to be himself
is the little that he seeks.

ROGUE WAVE
My friend is laid low
the wave has collapsed
upon the shore
there the agony roars;
he fears he is wrecked
upon the rocks and wonders
if he can lift himself
seven times more.

AS I AM
This is the end of temporary,
of impermanence, of the canvas tent
and bedroll on the floor;
open up your heart to me
or say me farewell,
for I need somewhere
to hang my hat
and lay my head,
to lie on crumpled sheets
in my own unmade bed.

THE DECISION
Resting on the shore at Puponga,
he sings the captive songs
of Zion and of love;
he prays to the silver moon
hanging by the thin thread
of his indecision, wanting
just a hint of certainty.

END OF THE ROAD
A rusted cattle stop
marks the end of the dirt road
leading to Cape Farewell;
takes some daring to cross it
and some daring to turn back
and the choice to make,
no one can tell.

ON THE TRACKS
there was a mournful tune
sounding in his ear
the night was dark
the morning too
splitting up
was the saddest thing to do
they couldn’t agree
but they both agreed
the best thing was
to fight to be free

THE WORD
It comes on the wind
across the bay at Puponga,
a gift of words, the savour of life,
that gathers all things unspoken
into the arms of silence.

HOME SWEET HOME
He knows it’s not a house he wants,
he’s just looking for a home,
a fire in the winter,
a cold beer in the summer
and for the seasons in between,
some place where he is not alone.

HOMELESS
He unrolls his sleeping bag
On the floor of the homeless
Rests his head in the hollow
Of nowhere else to go.

ABSENCE
I’ve not heard from him today,
the tide has come and gone
at Puponga, washed the mix
of mud and sand clean from
the imprints of time and debris,
left me to wonder at the silence
that sweeps across the bay.

LONG ROAD
It’s a long road to Puponga
it’s a long way back,
a long and narrow way,
he can’t work his way up from here,
where is the hand reaching down
to lift him high above the fear?

THE WAY BACK
The stars at Puponga
are fading into the haze
that merges ocean and shore,
and from the distance
of Rutherford Street,
they are harder to see
and they lose their ability
to light the way back.

BROKEN PATH OF LOVE
He ponders the next step
on the broken path of love;
he wonders at the voices
that call with each beat
of his tired heart, wonders
at the fading echo
that anchors him to the path.

BROKEN PATH OF LOVE
He ponders the next step
on the broken path of love;
he wonders at the voices
that call with each beat
of his tired heart, wonders
at the fading echo
that anchors him to the path.

CONTINUING
We shall talk the talk
of men and friends,
compare notes of
the long years,
of enduring love,
weigh up this and that,
then settle back to
confront the days ahead.

TUNNEL
His is not the wrath or
anger, just the sound
of the long tunnel
he is travelling through;
he speaks in a whisper,
a quiet voice to pierce
the darkness and settle
the soul.

LIFTED
The storm has laid him low,
the trees are bowed,
the wind in full voice,
the rain horizontal,
the door firm against
these would-be intruders;
he, climbing through
the pages of a book,
makes his own stand.

FEET OF CLAY
The incoming tide
at Puponga
laps at his feet,
washes away the clay
and topples him
headlong into the water;
sink or swim
is the cry,
or find yourself
a different pair of shoes.

RAISING THEIR GAME
A watery sun,
feeble heat,
little warmth for the
cold bones of old men
walking city streets,
looking to raise their game
to reclaim the glory days
when love was proud and tender.

A WHISPER AND A ROAR
The waves speak in
a roar at Puponga,
a voice that demands
to be heard;
the leaf speaks in
a whisper on the shore,
a voice embracing
and soft to touch.

NORTHERN GIRL
She stole his heart
in the north country,
emotionally yours,
a prayer that fell like
a silent hurricane
down his face,
tore him apart
in the mirror
of his own desire
for grace.

FAMILIAR YEARS
He stumbles and falls
over the familiar years
that jostle him on the
narrow way so that he
is unsure of his footing
and uncertain of his
direction home.

HE YEARNS NO MORE
He listens for the sound
of his own heart
as the ripple of the waves
crack the silence apart
at Puponga;
he yearns no more
for love to find
on the long and empty shore
that recedes before him
and cuts him to the core.

SWIMMING AT PUPONGA
He has swum in these turbulent waters
for years more than he cares to remember;
never been able to extract himself from their
icy pull and towel himself dry
on the warm shore.

THE LODGER
Some call him the lodger in the back room,
clean and tidy, well-mannered,
domesticated, walks the dog and is
not given to uncomfortable outbursts;
he thinks of the mid-winter ocean at Puponga
crashing through the channel, casting wild
diamonds and pearls heavenwards.

AT 5.00AM
The street lights were reflected in the wet bitumen
of Rutherford Street as he left the house at 5.00 am;
the horizon was further from his heart than
he had imagined, the lighthouse back at Puponga
swallowed by the darkness.

GATHERING GOLD
There is a hole
in the carpet of black cloud
that has hung low
these last weeks
over Puponga;
and through it,
the sun comes gathering gold
from the unmined-earth
and its secrets untold.

MIRROR
He steps outside of himself
just to see if he recognises who he is;
and having made the reacquaintance,
Dylan’s song,
‘seeing the real you at last’,
starts to play inside his head.

RUTHERFORD STREET
He is closer to home now
than he has been for a while;
he skirts the picket fence,
peers through the window,
pauses, casts his mind back
to these last days at Puponga,
then tentatively tries the handle
of the front door.

BOYS IN THE BAND
The anticipation of meeting a good friend
is much akin to the warmth of
the first drop of whisky,
or to the gentle breeze of solitude
that greets one on the shores of Puponga;
it ripples the longing for the banter
that comes when the boys are together.

FARMER
He is clothed against the winter rain
racing horizontal across the paddocks,
but still he feels the cold years in his bones
as he feeds out to the patient cows;
back at the house, the woodshed is full
and the fire is burning low in the hearth.

IN FROM THE COLD
The door is open,
sheets are warm,
her breathing soft;
he will wake at dawn
and listen for the
rush of the morning tide
far away at Puponga.

SEEING THE REAL YOU…
He sees his own reflection
on the surface of the sea
lying snug to the shore;
sometimes he wonders
if he really was the man
that he thought he saw.

CONFIDENT LOVE
Rain drizzles across the tide,
the sun struggles to shine,
sometimes it is cold here
at Puponga, sometimes
he is alone, his confidence
unwrapped by the icy wind;
yet for the warm embrace
of a confident love,
he would spend
all the silver pieces
in his pocket.

BROKEN SONGS
He is a friend of mine
counting the stars at Puponga
to the broken songs
of Leonard Cohen;
we have learned to sing
the lament of old men
as shooting stars crash
to the earth.

A WEARY WAY
The tide and the waves
and the constant harrowing
of the wind bend him in two;
he is weary from the work
of finding his way up from here,
wondering if there’s someone
who could work down to him there.

ARTIST
He studies the sweep
of the lonely tide,
on the blank canvas
left in its wake,
what he draws
is his to decide.

BADGE
A white picket fence
that lets nothing in
and keeps nothing out,
a red rose without a scent
or thorn,
these the badges worn
like medals on the chest
of time.

DISTANT TONGUE
At Puponga,
love speaks
in a distant tongue;
rough is the tune
by which the song is sung,
here, all sorrow weeps
in the light of
a struggling moon.

THE SOWER
His words remain unspoken,
snatched away by the wind
at Puponga
to find fertile ground
on the rough shores
of discontentment
in which to flourish.

LOVE SONG
A song of love
is sung at Puponga;
the cold stars
and the lonely wind
snatch the heart away,
they leave the longing
to settle in.

COUNSELLING
He has a mouthful of unused words,
she hears only the silence
as they are consumed;
she is deafened by the words unspoken,
he speaks the silence
as clear as he knows how.

DIVISION
The long line of the horizon
divides now from then at Puponga,
it draws a pencil line across his heart
and he wonders about which side
of the tide line he is on.

AT PUPONGA
He walks most days,
high on the bluff track
overlooking the rolling waves
crashing the rocks below;
I am replenished here, he says,
restored, hand in hand with
the wind, blowing through
the heart of all things.

THE COTTAGE
Here, in this port settlement,
they restored this worn-out cottage,
one nail, one board, one coat of paint at a time,
they stretched the canvas of their lives
over this get-away, this place of refuge

CONVERSATIONS
The conversation at Puponga
is whispered between shadows,
it speaks quietly of all the wisdom
that rests, undisturbed, in the echo
of the wind and waves.

REFUGE
He’s heading back to Puponga
in the driving rain
looking for a place
to lay down his heart,
looking for a place
where there is no pain;
he has been here before
and he will come again.

NARROW SUN
At Puponga,
the narrow ray of sun
cuts a golden line
through the whisky
in the glass;
a toast to home-coming
and a heart, steadfast.

SOJOURN
At Puponga, the house sits silent
and alone, the curtain drawn
to the darkness; his sojourn is over
for now, hounded by necessity
and purpose, he has returned to
the city and to the office desk.

KINGDOM
He is looking in the mirror
of the times that he once knew,
there is a mattress on the floor
and a blanket to cover him too,
my kingdom, my kingdom
the place that he once knew.

HOME
Down the winding coast road
from Puponga,
he makes his way back
to the town that bears his name
looking for a home in which
he can be bedded down.

CROWN
He came down from Puponga,
the grey valley and silver mist
encased him in the rivers flow
and bestowed a gift upon him;
a dark crown of rock and river stone.

SUPPER
A table laid in Puponga,
a supper on a cold night
with red wine,
a single moon
and a heart broken in two.

LOST TO LOVE
He can’t feel her arms about him,
he is at the ends of the earth
and love has a long highway to travel
to pay him the coins he is worth.

COLD SHEETS
The full moon at Puponga
is a solitary moon,
hangs outside the window,
casts a cold light
across the floor of the room;
his one thin sheet
no cover for the night.

ON THE HIGH SEAS
Like the mad sail of a sinking ship
flapping in the wind,
so too he, tied to the tall mast
and flayed by the high seas
of turmoil and despondency,
is tossed by the storm without
saviour or shelter or hope
of ever being reborn.

THIRST
He remembers the rain at Puponga,
so heavy the sky could not hold it;
the weight of water we were never
meant to carry on our own;
sufficient for our thirst alone,
then let the wilderness flourish.

DIAMOND THREAD
He is hanging by a
diamond-thin thread
from the heart
of the distant moon
and he doesn’t know
how far he can stretch it
before it breaks
and sends him reeling
back into the room.

SHELTER
His heart is rattled by the wind
these cabin walls are paper thin
he hears the voice from deep within
it speaks the sound of teardrop’s fall
he steadies himself against the squall.

LIKE THE TREES
Out here on the bluff at Puponga
he bends into the wind,
takes the shape of the manuka trees
lowered almost to their knees,
batters his way along the narrow path,
wonders what it takes to be free.

LIFE ALONE
How long shall time stay its hand
and shall he fear the life alone
or the fleeting path
of the shooting star
that is lost but for
some direction home.

STAINS OF TIME
The crescent moon at Puponga
casts a thin, cold light on the water
as he dips beneath the deep tide
to wash away the stains of time,
to wash away the gnawing fear
that by each one of them
he shall be defined.

FOOT PRINT
The sands at Puponga
have little respect
for the footprints
he makes;
tide and time
swallow them
and he disappears
without a trace.

IF THERE WAS NO SADNESS
Cocooned between the walls
of the cabin at Puponga,
sadness breaks everything
and nothing is as it was
supposed to be
and nothing remains
after the ebb of the tide.

SLEEP TONIGHT
On Rutherford street
she sleeps alone beside
the stream of street light
flooding the room;
at Port Puponga
he lies awake
winking at the stars
through the window of his room.

THE TENDERNESS
His eyes well
like the silver moon
as the flow of the tide
at Puponga
refreshes the tender
memories of the
long and distant road.

FOR TODAY
It’s just another night
it’s just another day
one follows the other
and the cards are dealt
at Puponga where he sits
at the table, ready to play.

SHINE A LIGHT
Today he speaks of the sun,
that harbinger of warmth
and light that paints Puponga
in shades of innocence and freedom -
the colours he once knew.

A REFUGE
At Port Puponga
he is gathered in by the silence
tucked into the sweeping arm
of the great spit that cradles the bay
into the refuge of the shore.

A KISS SO CHEAP
Was that you kissing my cheek?
I could not make you out in the dark;
was that the rattle of silver coins
in your pocket deep?

AT THE MAD CAFE
The old couch held us in comfort there,
we laughed with ease,
food aplenty there was to share
and no one was turned away;
here was shelter from the storm
and friendship here to keep us warm,
we ventured out to make our way,
every season will be reborn.

LAMP LIGHT

We will not slumber
We cannot sleep
The oil in our lamps
Does not come cheap

For the darkness
Covers the shore
If the light wanes
Shipwrecked we all be for sure.

THE CREEK BECOMES A RIVER
The one-time trickle of a creek
has been emboldened by a deluge of rain
that fills it to over flowing;
look now, a wonder wall of water
cascading its way down the valley,
as proud as it has ever been.

THE OLD GARDENER
He is weary now,
his old body moves more slowly
than it did before,
he trudges down to the garden,
turns a small row of the good earth,
leans upon his shovel,
waits for his breath to catch up.

WINTER COME SHE WILL
Winter announces its arrival, bold,
with ten days of thick, sleeting rain,
but its grey sky is criss-crossed
by plumes of white chimney smoke
looking to break cold winter’s hold.

TAKING A BREAK
He’s taking a break from the long road,
pulling over to let the faster traffic through,
he’s got no road map for the future,
just some hope that his past will get him through.

THE WELCOME
They turned their heads as we
took our place around the welcome fire,
we hadn’t gathered with them
here for quite a while
and we wondered if they would greet us
with a frown or with a smile.

WARMTH
Autumn closes in on winter
The night grows long and cold
We wrap ourselves in coat and scarf
And gather round the hot brick hearth

HUNGER
On a cold autumn evening
we gathered to the fire,
we sat each one on the wooden pews
and spoke in silence for a while;
just content to be here,
nothing needed to be said,
we had known the cut of the chilling wind
and hunger through lack of bread.

DIAMONDS HE BEQUEATHS US
From the bottle at heaven’s door
We took a wee dram
As we passed through
Toasted his eighty-one years
In a crystal glass
And counted the diamonds
Falling in the evening dew.

UNSEEN
What is it we are waiting for
in the calm before the storm,
will it strike us unseen,
will it come without warning,
will it make us all conform
in a grey and heavy uniform.

RESPITE
After the wind has bent the trees
low to the ground,
the morning comes dressed in
gold and blue,
the turbulent times are
hidden in the silence of sound.

THE STORM TO COME
The fair weather-sailor
sits on the mooring in the bay,
the rolling swell, the roaring waves
hidden beneath smooth waters for now;
the tempest, stirring, waiting for its day.

LEADERS
Our confidence
has been betrayed
and our trust eroded
by a sandcastle-ideology
that cannot stand
against the tide;
leaders parade before us,
a cavalcade of lies and jests,
nothing more than parking meters,
nothing but the second best,

THE SKY IS FALLING
If we all held up our hands
High above our heads
And we did it altogether
The sky would stay in place
It would not fall down
And we would have no need
To rely upon king or crown.

?
How did you live
and how did you die
and how was your heart
when the reaper passed by?
Was your lamp still burning
did it light up the sky,
were you ready to leave us,
did you know why?
I ask you these questions
with a lingering sigh
to answer the memories
of a young boys eye.

WRONG PATH
Don't ever keep me from the fire,
from the warm hearth of your heart,
like you did before;
allow me to warm my hands
in the flicker of your flame,
don’t ever close your door;
no matter how hard the wind blows
or heavy falls the rain
let’s not walk there anymore.

McGUIRE
You say that love is
and the highway is
a dolphin at play,
you hold the light high,
you light up the way,
making it a joy to travel
so that a simple thank you
is all that is left to say.

OLD TUNES
How many songs
line the alley way
like graffiti of the
heart;
where is the
sunshine that
keeps shadows
apart;
whose are the
voices of the
past that echo
on the long and
distant path.

THE SURFER
Morning wakes on a silver wave
The surfer is far from shore
Folded in the white foam of the sea
He asks for nothing more.

THE MASKER
She dances at the masquerade ball
Her face it is concealed
Nothing of her heart is known at all
For nothing is revealed.

BROKEN
pieces of my heart litter the workshop floor
and I am powerless to put them back together
we sweep the wood shavings and dust into the bin
and speak little of the tree that towers above us.

47th ANNIVERSARY
The tuis chortle out the years
from the autumn trees, content in
the morning sun that spreads its
light about us, while the tide,
lapping the road edge down on
the estuary shore, hums the praise
of all things that time cannot hide.

REASON
The cold stars caress
the edge of the sky
like a kiss on the lips
of reason, a stranger
wandering by.
The way is unclear,
the path obscured
by thistle and weed,
yet the low hum of
wind can still be heard

WHANAU
The wharenui shelters angels in the evening,
its doors are wide open, the lintels stained in red,
the hearts of those housed within its walls
beat strongly across the green fields; here,
aroha hui and kai are the threads of love
that weave us together as one.

OLD DOGS ii
It had been a long while
between firesides
at the inn; a long while
since they had tasted
the golden nectar,
droplets of whisky
suspended from the
fine thread by which
their hearts are attached.

7 May 2022

ALBIE
He storms in from the wilderness
Singing songs of redemption
He comes carrying love from the desert
The vine and fig tree blossom

A MOTHER
For a brief moment she gazes from the deck
out, over the harbour, takes refuge from the
constant demands of care and responsibilities
that shake her awake in the morning and ride
her hard throughout the day; in the evening
she falls, rag-doll like, onto the pillow

OLD DOGS
He rounded the point
pushed the bow into the
wind from the south
and chopped his way
across the harbour
to the sturdy pier and
the safe haven of the
port-side inn.

WALKING FAREWELL SPIT
Hush the crushing silence
of these departed years
new footsteps scuffing
the white sand of this
earthly moon that circles
around us all, kin and
offspring, hand in hand,

S.J. RAFFILLS
The full moon puts the stars to bed
another year is left to slumber
the highway takes an unseen turn
he swings the wheel to the right
regains the centre line
head-lights on full-beam
knows where he is going
remembers where he has been.

YOUTH
The sky is dripping pastel clouds
through the colours of my eyes
and the sweet caress of distant youth
seems a long ago and fading cry

COFFEE
The light creeps around the edge of the curtain
some signal that the day is about to begin,
down the stairs to the bathroom,
to the kitchen, flick the switch,
grind the beans and oh the
first aroma of the day.

ELIJAH
Where is Elijah
prophet of the Kingdom,
thorn in the side of kings?
Taking refuge in a cave somewhere,
sheltering from the treachery,
holding out for the flesh of the word
then he shall be revealed.

TO BED
Blue-grey shadows push their way
through the semi darkness while
the full moon outshines the Milky Way,
its beams of light fall on the silence,
a hush lies over the rhythmic breathing of sleep.

LIKE A CANCER
Did we stop the clocks
and close the shops
and lock ourselves away
while they lay in
skeleton beds
theirs faces sunken
inside their heads
with teeth too big
for their mouths
the morphine
working over-time.

S.J. RAFFILLS
The full moon puts the stars to bed
another year is left to slumber
the highway takes an unseen turn
he swings the wheel to the right
regains the centre line
head lights on full beam
knows where he is going
remembers where he has been.

MEMORIAL
We danced on the face of the sand dune
watched from above by the white moon
while we opened the door of the empty room
we had said goodbye to him much too soon.

OF FAREWELL
Peace to you in the crossing over,
peace to you on the ocean,
peace to you among the trees
and the stones and the stars;
peace to you in the thick rain
falling outside my window,
falling across my heart;
peace to you in the silver mist
draping the valley of my eyes.

COMING HOME
The road runs through the last small town
I’m making my way round the last small bend
chased by the wind sweeping through
the narrow lane, it stings me from the left,
cuts me from the right but I’m walking a straight line looking for the welcome sign polished bright.

HEARTBREAK
These heavens will fall apart
on me tonight without her smile
or the touch of her heart,
let me rest here awhile
in the glittering dark
beneath the broken aisle.

THE DANCE
She is lost among the stars tonight
I hear her softly call
Her eyes trail a long shawl of light
That I am bound to follow;
She speaks in the silence
In the hollow of my heart.
And if I cannot find her
I will no longer dance.

DRIFT AWAY
At the gate
Underneath the pale moon
Faces fade into shadows
And she is gone much too soon;
At the gate
Time tap-dances in the moonlight
One year becomes another
And another is lost to sight.

JOHN WARD HOLMES
All the strong trees are falling
Their shadows are no more;
Are we not left to grow in the sunlight
Covering the dappled floor?

INSURRECTION
Come the morning of this insurrection, find us
in the early light, on the street corners of our towns, waving flags and scrawled messages of hope and
truth and freedom, for there is nowhere else to turn;
feed my sheep, find the courage to lead them.

HE SURFS THE SEA
The day wakes in light
the surfer glides
a silver wave,
walks the surface
of the sea,
carries my heart
through time
across eternity.

LONESOME STREET
We did not take anything from the empty tomb,
we left it as we found it, no furniture was removed
and the angels in the half-light said that he had risen
from the agony of defeat and he was waiting now
on that long and lonesome street.

CROWN OF THORNS
Darkness came upon the hillside and the devils
squealed in delight as they thrust their iron spears
into the side of flesh and watched the blood of innocents like a river flow, they did all they could to take him down and weave those thorns into a crown.

CRUCIFIXION
From the courts of law and from the halls of power,
from the darkness of deception, the judge orders
the crucifixion by needle and by nail, the child’s innocence they condemn as they lay him in the grave, but they shall be held accountable, when he shall rise again.

GETHSEMANE
We lay in the garden of our nation’s heart,
we slept on the grass at Gethsemane for as long
as the night would last, through salt and blood
we sweated tears at the foot of the polished, marble
stairs but there were no answers to our prayers.

SHEPHERD
In the helter-skelter of the wolves
running amuck among the sheep,
stand firm in the eye of the storm
so the gate of the fold you can keep.

THE BACK POCKET
We don’t believe that this is it
they are not over and done with yet
they’ll let you up for just one breath
then they’ll put their foot back on your neck.

FALLING STAR
I stand among the living stars
I stand among them all
ready to catch one of them
if it should accidentally fall
and I shall paste it in the sky again
and I shall see it standing tall.

A HUMBLE STEP
It’s a long road back
through the cold valley
of marble headstones
chiselled in haste;
it's a humble step
across the charred
silhouettes of burnt-out
bridges barely standing.

ON THE VILLAGE GREEN AGAIN
It was a single voice
and a simple song
across a meadow of grass
beside a bitumen road
and both of them helped
to carry the load.

MOONSHINE ON THE MICROPHONE
The mood was easy,
hearts were free
and words rolled
fearlessly
from the microphone
into the heart of the home.

BURNING BRIDGES
I am walking on bridges
charred and twisted beyond recognition
but there is a strong beam or two
left standing, they take my weight
across the sad divide
and deliver me to the other side.

HEALING, IF I COULD
Sweet wine for
vinegar and gall
I pour into your cup
and lend my heart
to yours
and reach my hand
in that name
to still and calm
your storm.

ON THAT OTHER SHORE
Heading back across the waters
heading for that other shore
where a small flame is kindled,
fire, smoke and stones,
and there is no telling
of the banquet promised there,
a small fish, a loaf of bread,
this for my son, the king,
shall be prepared.

Favourite Song lyrics of New Zealand’s
‘young-globalist -leader’ #1
“…there’s just as many geese
And they’re flying down south
As there are lies
Just pouring out of your mouth…”
with apologies to Donovan and his song,
Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do

FAITH
In the shadow of the grey mountain
on the edge of the silver estuary
healing is suspended in the curtain of air;
it hangs like a thin thread of faith,
that fragile strength that carries us
over the quiet waters.

COVID BLUES lll
It’s gonna’ sit by your side
Take your for a little ride
But if you hold on to your mind
Covid blues will leave you behind

There is no news but the covid blues
On every screen and printed page
It is the thing, it is the rage
And it’s not about to leave us soon.

COVID BLUES ll
There ain’t no magic cure
No jab gonna make it detour
Tell me cute little lies all you like
Covid blues, get on your bike.

Covid blues is in lock down
Covid blues is closed for business
How we ever gonna’ shake it
And abandon all this nonsense

HOLDING THE LINE
Soft clouds
billowing, white sails
make their way slowly
across an ocean of blue sky;
from harbour to harbour,
the passage is for the pure heart,
the sure line that holds
on either side of the boat.

COVID BLUES
I’ve got the covid blues
Like its man-made news
Everyone I’m talking to
They’re all walking in my shoes

This thing is going down
The main street of my town
Everyone bound to get it
Covid blues is going around.

WAKE
We sat in a tin shed,
there was nowhere left to hide,
we passed conversation
between drinks;
we talked of her by name
occasionally,
pausing once to raise
our glasses in a toast
to a special lady.

REMEMBERING AMY
A yellow lantern hangs
from the low branch
of the apple tree;
it rocks gently in the
afternoon breeze,
casting imaginary rays
of sunshine across
those days we recall
just like they were yesterday.

LEWIS PASS
The beech trees,
in black and green,
line my way through the pass,
they tower to a darkening archway
drawing the evening twilight down.

AWE AND WONDER
Rain on me oh galaxy of silver stars
Whose names are without number
Light my way across the universe
To the refuge of my father’s heart
Where I shall stand in awe and in wonder.

THESE TIMES
A toxic wasteland
lies at my door,
a sweeping plain
of pestilence and war,
this side and that side,
the sun against the rain
and who will even
remember that it was
for these times that
I came.

MARGARET
The east wind howls a low tune
across the mouth of the Clutha,
it pushes the tide all the way up
the valley to the bridge and weaves
itself through the stone arches,
a tapestry of laughter and song,
hers a heart sculptured by
river and town.

AT SNELLS BEACH
I remember now
the smiles on the faces
of the kite-boarders
when the wind came
across the bay
riding a herd of white
horses from the east.