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Twitter Poems

LULLABY
At days end
the star emerges
in the shadow
of the halo moon,
it hovers quietly
over her heart,
lays to rest the load,
murmurs a lullaby
of sleep.

THE BREAD
This is the bread our father gave us,
the field, the grain, the toil of his hand,
the wounded flesh, the nail, the thorns
woven to a crown, a purple robe or
a home-spun garment, both taken
at the roll of the dice;
blessed are we to sit at his table.

THESE THINGS
Did the joy of the shepherds
Break through the darkness?
Did the song of the angels
Shine a light in your heart?
Did the smile of the child
Lessen your worries for now?

SILVER & GOLD
She asks for nothing in return
for the gold and silver
spent on our behalf;
hers not a purse with holes
but a place of secure deposit,
a heart of sure treasure.

OF THE MAN
The parchment scroll,
the light
of the early morn,
the meditation that
unravels the mystery,
the patience
and the pondering
that gives substance
to his years,
gives direction
to the road,
makes of the man
all that a man
can be.

ROAD WITHOUT END
This is the gate that I open
These are the roads without end
New is the song I am singing
For fire, rain and friend.

DREAMS OF JOY
This is the morn of my waking
These are the dreams of my joy
Oh how I love the laughter
Of the man with the heart of a boy.

FIELDS OF HARVEST
These are the fields of my harvest
this, the moon of my heart,
see how the shadows are dancing,
dappled the light and the dark

MY SISTER
She lives on a dirt road
one hundred miles from town,
out where the cross-roads meet
close to the lonesome sound,
she staked her claim there,
she defends that sacred ground.

CHRIST SAVIOUR
The baby,
the Christ saviour,
Messiah,
one whose kingdom
plundered the darkness,
slept soundly
in a poor hovel.

EVENING
Long into the twilight
the day weaves the last of its light,
the birds' chatter ceases
silence the prayer releases,
rest falls like a dream
star casts a silver gleam.

PINBOARD
She gathers the stars
from their dark pinboard
and places then on the path
that calls for her to follow,
she knows the light
they afford her
but sometimes, in her eyes,
the shadows dance.

COUNT THE DAYS
Count the days
that before us lie,
turn the handle
open the door,
the rays of sun,
the dust sparkling
on the floor,
save for the light,
our times unknown
save for the light
little here is shown.

WEARINESS
In the evening chill
In the fading light
Her voice moves slowly
Speaks in a whisper
An echo of an angel

HOLE
Cut a hole in the roof,
lower the sickness down,
there’s got to be some way
to break through this crowd,
to touch the faith,
to hold the gaze
to commune face to face.

CLAY AND SOIL
The potter resurrects
what was buried
in the cold clay;

the gardener grows
the seed planted
in the loose soil;

cold clay, loose soil
both hide secrets
only the truth can know.

CHEMO
Are you laying low today,
has the chemo sucked you dry,
can you find your breath,
can you find a smile,
is that a prayer
escaping from the weariness?

A WINK
In the deep darkness
We sail alone
Down past lights
That wink at us
From the rocky coast;
By them the way is known,
The darkness made more shallow.

WALTZ
Here, in the midst of the wide sky,
the moon hangs, full and round,
suspended over my wistful heart,
the night has fallen, soft and quiet,
in its arms, the silver light
waltzes across the shadows
and I wonder if she too,
is dancing tonight.

DISTANCE
Down the line
A long way from your heart
I feel the distance
That keeps us apart
I know the silence
Of unanswered prayers
But we hold to hope
Stacked against the years

SILENT PRAYERS
Silent prayers
spoken in broken moments,
hang between the stars
and the dawn;
on the glass seas
of compassion,
they contest
the ebb and flow
of the tide.

HEM
Tomorrow,
She starts again,
Pouring in the oil,
The healing balm
Taking root deep
Among the shadows,
Hanging to the hem
Of the garment.

TARRY
You lie back in your arm chair
your body off duty,
slumbering through restless hours,
waiting the healing to come when it will;
tarry is the word,
a strange one for sure,
but tarry nevertheless,
for what is to come…

SISTER 2
Tonight the seven sisters
have taken their place
in the broad, clear heaven;
I’m wondering about them
and their unnumbered brothers,
when they first appeared
and for how much longer
they will guide our hearts.

SISTER 1
My sister, my comfort from a child,
my tower of song,
my deepest prayer;
I hear you now
in the evening,
in the long shadows
of the waiting hour,
I speak you words of comfort
in return…..

SISTER
She plants flowers
In the cracks
Of her heart
She waters them with tears
Their fragrance wafts
Down through the years

JOY
I shall come to you again
When the rain has stopped
And the road is dry
And the rivers are passable

Oh, to see you face to face
To hug as only kin can do
That would be a great joy
When the dove has rested

SILENT PRAYERS
Silent prayers
spoken in broken moments,
hang between the stars
and the dawn;
on the glass seas
of compassion,
they contest
the ebb and flow
of the tide.

WIPE AWAY
Sometimes we cry,
the dry earth is watered,
the desert thirsts,
tears become words
that only those who weep
hear and understand.

SOMETIMES
Sometimes the load is heavy
and she struggles to take the strain,
it is then she falls in the road way
crippled by the pain;
sometimes he kneels beside her
wipes the dust from her face
lifts her in the strength of time
holds her in the arms of grace.

PROMISE TREE
There is a promise tree
growing in the garden,
upon it, she hangs her
fierce and firery heart
from the highest branch
hope is the thread from
which it dangles.

WHITE CLOUD
Sometimes in the long silence
when no voice can be heard
and the rock is as hard
as any you have ever carried,
I would sing you a soft song,
lift the stone and place it
behind the veil of the white cloud
where all things are held, waiting.

FAITH
The valley dances in shadows,
dappled is the sun
that skips across its floor,
we make our way through
the half-light,
every step is tentative,
every step is sure.

THE RISING
The highlands are shrouded
in a cloak of white mist,
the pipes, stirring and shrill,
echo deep in the dream,
there is no waking here,
the desert and the wilderness,
a bunch of white heather
offered in the rising.

FEATHERS
She gathers feathers
lighter than the air,
she sings quiet songs
softly to herself,
on the wings of
the snow-white dove
her days remain,
her youth sustained.

MANY COLOURS
Beneath the blanket
of many colours
I take my rest;
I think of her,
sewing and knitting
late into the night,
a mother of all her kin
and of her friendships.

LAUGHTER DANCING
She holds a posy of flowers
laughter dancing
outside the café in Takaka,
a long way from Paris,
a rainy day, she smiles
through the grey clouds
her heart a warm sun
a single ray of light
a golden thread;
her birthday…

SECURE
And if her hands should tire
on the hold of faith,
would it be, those other hands
would hold and reach for her
and In the fragile moments
secure, would she be.

SILVER THREAD
She stands on the edge
of all that she has known,
she holds to the silver thread
of faith, woven down through
the years with a strength
that will not let her go.

A LONG ROAD
The rock weeps
in the desert,
touched by the rod
of the Almighty;
weary tears
water the load,
quench the thirst
of a long road.

A GREAT LOVE
She rests now
within the welcome
walls of home;
within the arms
of a great love
oil and wine flows.

LULLABY
A long night
wilderness alone
body broken by candle light
in a distant room
the song is quiet
sweet lullaby.

SILENT PRAYER
Did you wake
in the morn,
was the pain gone,
have they taken
what you did not need,
is hope planted
a flower and its seed,
does the light burn
in the valley,
still waters
make a silent sound,
a psalm of thanks,
a distant prayer
holding all things
as they should be.

FIRST LOVE
He’s getting by
on a distant love,
a memory he once knew;
carved in runes
upon a rock,
he remembers a word or two.

UNDERSTANDING
She holds the ground softly
and gives of her heart,
a balm, a sweet scent of love,
she understands
the dappled dance of sunlight
and shadow;
she waits at the gate
for his return.

16
Bellbird
On a broken morning
Trills alone
From the branch
Of the kowhai tree

Outnumbered
By the sadness
Buried in the silence
The songbird
Gently weeps

DEEP BLUE COAT
Off in the distance
the ocean nudges
the shore, it wears
deep blue coat
with sequins
sparkling in the sun;
I’m lost in the heat
of the mid-afternoon,
the garden to tend,
the distance too far
for me to reach.

HEARTBEAT
One moment of love,
captured in the
turning of the galaxy,
shows its face
in small mirrors
suspended high
and out of reach;
a glass darkly,
black like the night,
gives light to the stars
wandering across
the heavens,
lost in that moment
only a heartbeat
can know.

THE WATCHMAN
A light burned in the window
of the house upon the hill
it stood above the highway,
the watchman was at his post,
his breathing quiet and still.

DOWN ON LOVE
Sun goes down
on a long summer evening,
the moon comes up
just as love is leaving;
the coat hook and
the hat rack,
both are bare,
I look at them and wonder
when she will be back.

WEST
I’ve been down on the West Coast
beneath a long white cloud
where the coal fires burn
clear and bright
and the rivers flow
like gold.

IN THE VALLEY
I’m down in the valley
I’m way out of sight
staring up at a rock face
bathed in the glow
of a distant light.

WEST
I’ve been down on the West Coast
beneath a long white cloud
where the coal fires burn
clear and bright
and the rivers sing out loud.

IN THE VALLEY
I’m down in the valley
I’m way out of sight
staring up at a rock face
bathed in the glow
of a distant light.

SO FAR AWAY FROM YOU
I’m listening to Townes Van Zant
Singing, ‘…if you needed me,
I would come to you,
I would swim the sea
for to ease your pain…’
and I’m crying,
for a liar I make of the song,
stranded here on a distant shore
so far from where you are.

SILENT SILHOUETTE
He sits n silhouette
on the front porch,
the hazy glow of the moon
dances in dappled shadows
over his heart and face,
the silence plays a symphony
on the whisky glass,
a longing he once knew.

THE LONG YEARS
She bows to no man,
her bones don’t bend with age,
she, a flame flickering,
scribing words upon a page;
caught in a long web
by each year passing,
a long sigh of betrayal,
a glow of embers lasting.

SHADOWS
I was dancing with a shadow
she fell right through my arms
the night was seven times lonely
seven stars were in my eyes
the song remained unsung
no words here were spoken
silence from the gallows hung.

SILENCE
It is a long distance
between the longing
and the stars;
unspoken is the silence
that knows the love
woven between
distant hearts.

ROAD WORKER
He is filling pot holes
in the gravel road
outside my gate,
he leans on his shovel
at my approach
and we make words
until knock-off time;
the pothole will keep
for another day.

RABBI
Of what shall I speak,
he asks, when they gather
to listen to his words
and what do I know
of these hearts
that would be healed?

FRIEND
He read the runes carved
on the face of stone stars,
heard the songs drift slowly
from the tree of life,
where the bread is broken
and the wine is supped
from the cup we share.

THE SINGER
I found him there
on the café floor,
singing songs of a
yodelling Jesus;
he was joy to behold.
standing in the middle
of the universe of song.

IN SILENCE
The prophet
knows the truth
of silence,
that language of wisdom
softly spoken
when it appears
no one is listening.

HELEN
He keeps count of the years
when no one is looking,
quietly he sings a song
of deepest love;
he stands at the gate
where he has always stood,
the distance is too far to see
but he remembers and
he hears her voice, still;
he keeps count of the tears
when no one is looking.

HOME
He’s looking for the front door,
for the roof and for the walls,
for the fireside and for those
strong hearts to keep him warm;
he’s looking for his home
on a distant street with
a little room of wood and tin
there he’ll make his dreams
and there his dreams will make him.

SAILOR
tall masts woven together
against the glow of a western sky
floating on still water;
I am scarcely breathing
for fear I shall tear this
tranquillity apart;
she glides across my eye,
so many oceans yet to sail,
I trail in her wake.

PEACE!
A rough sea hammered
the walls of the long,
cold night,
he came sailing
through the storm,
took refuge
in the tranquillity
of a harboured love,
whispered 'peace, peace',
rested in cradled arms
and was baptised
by the tears
flooding down
the face
of mystery.

LOVE LOST
He turned his head
one last time
as the tear fell from his eye;
where she stood
a ripple in the wind,
an echo in the empty sky.

BIRTH
Going to meet my kid,
going to hold them in my arms,
going to show them the whole world,
going to give them my heart….

MUM
Are you on your feet
dancing with the angels?
Is your old wheelchair
rusting in the corner?
Do you look down on me
from time to time?
Often, I wish in my darkness,
that you were here.

TARA
I found her on the footpath
I knew her by her laugh
She said her name was Tara
I said, ‘you must be fierce’.
She said, ‘how did you guess.’

STARS II
I lift my hands to touch the stars,
to offer praise to their glory,
majestic in their heavens;
I sleep beneath each one
stacked like a watchtower
over every dream I own.

STARS
I feel the warmth of the stars
Shimmering through the chill
air of this late spring night;
how great is the distance,
how intimate is the light
they shed upon my path.

POSSESSIONS
Possessions of the heart,
possessed of the mind,
how then shall freedom
weave itself like the wind
through this life of mine.

TIME
Sun slides in
on the morning clear,
days, weeks and months
become another year;
see how time
marches to the tune,
golden light filters
through the room.

THE BAND
Down the back streets of my youth
the band is playing loud and free,
back then I took every song
as gospel truth, such was my belief;
in the Inn tonight, one more time,
the band played loud and free
and every song was just as strong
though my youth had taken leave.

CLOSE
Came so close to the falling star
tried so hard to catch it
wanted to be where you are;
dreams are sometimes only that,
they come in the hours of sleep
come daylight, hear them weep.

POSSESSIONS
Possessions of the soul
have no price or space,
their value and worth
come with time
and their place
pinned to the walls
of home.

THE OPEN MIC
On the microphone
they took their turn
and with courage
they spoke a word
and they sang a tune,
they took the applause
from the whole of the room
and spoke the world
of heart and moon.

UNTIL THE HARVEST
There is a falsehood
in the neighbourhood,
the weeds have been
sown with the wheat
and until the harvest
one shall not be known
from the other.

OLD FRIENDS
Hanging out in Wainuiomata
at his house, late teens, school holidays;
met at church camp, became friends,
me from Auckland, both named Mark;
just a brief couple of years I guess
bur clay nevertheless, in the potter’s hands,
vessels for the drinking of the wine.

THE SWELL
Yesterday the swell was
bigger than the endeavour
of our hearts to make
the ocean crossing
from shore to
distant shore;
today, the swell
and the distance
are much reduced.

HAPPY
Just looking for a word
for a birthday – happy;
five little letters,
elusive as a butterfly,
dictated by
circumstance,
shallow as an
out-going tide.

SEEING, YOU DO NOT SEE
Your eyes are open
but you walk by me
without a flicker
of acknowledgement,
you do not see
the colour of my shirt,
the style of my coat,
the cut of my jeans;
you give no attention
to anything.

A STRONG ROOF
Like a thundering sky
of turbulent cloud,
so is the day that ends
with a late word for
his birthday; my young
brother, a haven of refuge,
whose heart, a shelter
with a strong roof,
stands firm.

A SWEET SMILE
There was a soft awakening
as he watched the dance
of youth move across
his barren years;
he accepted then,
it was only kindness
that graced the young
woman’s smile.

HOMELESS
She sits to one side
of the supermarket door,
her flimsy garment
pulled about her
against the cold,
beside her
a simple plea
scrawled on a
piece of card;
he drops some coin
into her hand,
it is the little he can do.

BOW TO NO MAN
Bow to no man,
to no woman,
no golden calf
of government;
salute only love,
harbour only hope
and fear only fear,
stand up for all
that is good and
right and true.

FALSE PROMISE
On the first day
the rain fell
in thick, grey sheets,
cold to the bone,
mocking the promise
of summer.

TORMENT
A black mist
snakes through
his mind,
chokes his heart,
strangles his breath,
reduces his cry
to the lone howl
of the wolf.

THE WORKMAN
A day in the trenches of labour
comes to a sweaty,
dust-covered end;
a tall glass and a cold beer
reward enough for now.

DAUGHTER
She has a tender heart,
not hardened by the road
or the storm or by any
bastard that thought
they could break her.

THE WORKSHOP
There is dust covering everything
even though the saw is silent
and the wood stack is low,
for this is the place where
hands have crafted life
from the tree and now rest
is taken from the labour.

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.