Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Bay - James K. Baxter

The Bay
- James K. Baxter

One the road to the bay was a lake of rushes
Where we bathed at times and changed in the bamboos.
Now it is rather to stand and say
How many roads we take that lead to Nowhere,
The alley overgrown, no meaning now but loss:
Not that veritable garden where everything comes easy.

And by the bay itself were cliffs with carved names
And a hut on the shore by the Maori ovens.
We raced boats from the banks of the pumice creek
Or swam in those autumnal shallows
Growing cold in amber water, riding the logs
Upstream, and waiting for the taniwha.

So now I remember the bay and the little spiders
On driftwood, so poisonous and quick.
The carved cliffs and the great outcrying surf
With currents round the rocks and the birds rising.
A thousand times an hour is torn across
And burned for the sake of going on living.
But I remember the bay that never was
And stand like stone and cannot turn away.



O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

1 comment:

  1. It is tattered and worn
    hardly fit to keep out the cold or shade from the sun,
    never the less,
    I wrap you in my cloak.
    It does not hold the promise of the world’s heat
    it will not turn bullet or dagger
    its shape will not even answer those who swagger.
    it is a poor cut,
    home spun,
    patched work, semblance of sense.
    Crafted through the knotting hands
    of an unkind story.
    You may wear it if you will
    a simple garment
    the best I have
    fit for your glory.
    Oh I wish I could sing to the bay
    with the sound of a child's voice
    piping in the spring.
    Sounds to finger the old cold,
    cracking it like a frost
    kissed by the sun
    turning new light into a growing furrow
    on a mist kissed Morning.
    Oh I wish I could sing to the bay
    of caressing soft sand and pines whispering
    surf kissing the shore with the chime of quiet starlight
    cradling the moon of passing night
    black but an eddy in a moment of returning light.
    Oh I wish I could sing to the bay
    of the taste of pure dew distilled
    crisp as blood
    red on the sun's rising
    touching the growing tip of life
    a passion for the moment
    staying
    still and standing.

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