The Taste of Spring

kowhai

From up here,
on my hill,
I see the white caps
of the harbour
stumbling in the morning light.
Their impetuous play
carries new anticipation.
They too fall upon the shore
in love.
In the vigorous wind
that bowls through the suburbs,
precariously tilted
over Wellington,
I witness the
gleeful annihilation of
clothes lines,
and the scent of the
wild spring
buffets my heart.

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Wild Coast

They were right to call it wild.
Even here, the houses of this
wind-beaten city grow taciturn,
and in their huddles,
speak only in hushed tones,
seem poised on tip toes,
and feel like stiff tourists,
or those who don’t stay long.

For there is still something
it commands in us,
as with the uneasiness of children
in the matriarch’s cloying room.
Here, we learn of limits,
and find again
the muteness of our steps.

And what do we know
of its quarrel with the sea,
which has left deep scars
in these cliffs,
or of the burden of salt
which it carries?
We are a passing of seabirds,
a foam of scattered centuries,

while it carves us
beneath a weight of solitude.
Between the waves
that breach like whales,
it remains the last
untranslatable, wild word,
a shoulder of wind.

Message

I crest the hill of this salt swept morning,
to a sky of violence.
And the wind,
that marauder of trees,
upsetter of crisp clothes lines,
that Attila of the ferocious sea,
brings me angry messages from afar.

It will not let you remain, you know,
forever and forever, like a stone ornament
sunk in the phlegmatic moss.
Even if you want rest, you can’t have it.
Even if you want to be silent, you can’t.

Everything in the city moves
like an earthquake of air.
The wind peels the paint from the windowsill,
and tosses dogs out of doors,
and the city evaporates
with a flock of dispersed seagulls.

You cannot hold this,
like a clutch of bills, a purse of longing,
for the wind brings an angry message from the sea,
brings a bruised fruit
that dropped from the already afflicted tree.
And I walk in this annihilating hour
with a lightened soul.