From an Island

Poems from an unpublished manuscript.


The one who went away
I turn the stone in my head,
there is your room and there on the bed you sit
in a light that does not shift
you rise and rise again, never noticing
the dust or the room or the way I keep coming
though never coming in.
A stone cannot be moved from itself
and the light comes from a time without hours.
Perhaps you are the one who went away
and it was I who waited in that room
high above the expectations of ordinary days.


Heart attacks
this is the day when the heart attacks the bird in the sky
                                                            Claire Gaskin
Heart attacks water,
breaks it, swallows down swans
and murky prayers,
Heart shivers in the trees,
pulls the great unravelling winter
of silence up to its chin,
Heart lies buried,
afraid of the dark
and the future and the same conclusion…
Heart beaten, mercilessly,
after a life of pure intentions,
to be the lake, to be the trees understood.



Discovered through new and newer telescopes,
a passion, a success, a nebula of messages,
but instead you look there,
over the waves, for a boat with a sail and a chicory mast,
the last place you thought you were.
Stars form and under the slip of your eye a gathering takes place.
Out beyond your fingertips you reach for the rest of you,
part there, part here.


On a night sea cliff the moon runs away from your child heart,
inside you a small shadow circles around,
compressed by unreachable lights
and that which should never tame itself to be approached.



Here is the switch that turns I want into I am; documented in many natures by such machinations as the opening of a beak, the unbuttoning of a shirt, the imprinting of a small hand on a soluble skin of sand. These catalysts hide in the obvious world. We ignore the power of simplicities, building our actions into personal industries. I still grow up and die down every year, providing a little colour and sound with my few roughly composed transformations. Though triggers flock through every day we gaze at them in the abandoned way of the flightless. Yet hands, fruitless for so long, can with simple tasks explode the myth of their dormancy. Faith is a practicality of biomechanics and to simply switch on a light can reveal such domestic beliefs – the body of a hand has a soul in its motivations. The lives of your actions are incomplete without you, their god, performing miracles like routine illuminations on why it is we must spend so much time in the dark.



Karori Christmas
Today I felt your old hand stroke the apple of my head.
Windy, yes it was windy, the rest of us got lost on a few winding roads for a while.


I’d come a long way, disgruntled by the flight, but hadn’t taken the same trip you had.
I would have touched you too but you were in the air and not the remembered body.


I will tell no-one that for a moment you returned. Some may later read about this miracle of atoms;
the tactile apparition of you visiting me visiting you.