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A View from Stadacona One Autumn Night

January 30, 2011

A nature poem

It’s too dark too early.

Too quickly autumn. 

Everything dying slowly, beautifully,


Naked Ladies

And Lilies of the Nile,

Only memories now. 

Hydrangeas withering.

The scent of roses

Stolen by the cold. 

Pansies and marigolds

Silent, still life.

A lamp shines

On the lemon tree. 

A lemon tree. Very pretty. 

Growing in our garden! 

The silk tree sleeps.

Its leaves droop downward

To touch the kowhai where

The tui gets drunk on nectar. 

Under the tree

Where the wood pigeons coo

Hangs the hammock-chair.

An actor pretended to be KM there.

I cannot see it now,

For the darkness

Blinds me.

But I know it is there.

I know it is there

As I know the Granny Smiths

Still bend the branches

Of the tree next door. 

It is there as I know

The kumara grow still

Behind the trellises

Next to the compost.

There, as I remember,

Beside too much silver beet

Too many tomatoes,

Too few wild raspberries, so sweet.

Magnolia tree, camellia bush. 

No flowers now. 

Near there is where

The fotog snapped Stadacona at dusk. 

Its lights ablaze, 

Grey sky behind. 

Cabbage tree in front. 

“Damn mosquitoes!”

Then two flashes

From behind the kiwi

Shaped out of hedge 

To make the children giggle. 

There again.

Pinpricks in the night. 

Eyes flicking

Along the lawn’s edge. 

I know what it is. 

I don’t need the day

To see

The neighbour’s cat.

In the distance,

The Interislander is

Coleridge’s painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.

Over the rooftops,

The city lights twinkle

Only slightly more brightly

Than the Southern Cross above.

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