THE CHOCOLATE FOR THE ANTS
It was the ants who taught you pathos.
Your oldest aunt the only one not living
in Australia stern Methodist that she was
loved you best of all her many nephews
so when you had eaten all your dinner up
gave you a piece of chocolate which you
with your grasp of the Methodist ethic of
delayed gratification placed on the bedside
table when you had been tucked up in
your narrow bed so that the pleasure
to be taken on awaking in the morning
would be all the greater than had that
chocolate been eaten when it was received
except those ants had their own wayward
thoughts and there they were exercising
their own ideas when you woke. So thickly
did they coat that chocolate piece the pathos
was you could not see the chocolate for the ants.
Murray Edmond’s recent books include Back Before You Know (2019, Longlisted for the Ockham NZ Book Awards) and Shaggy Magpie Songs (2015), two poetry volumes; Then It Was Now Again: Selected Critical Writing (2014); and Strait Men and Other Tales (2015), fictions. He is the editor of Ka Mate Ka Ora: A New Zealand Journal of Poetry and Poetics; and works as a dramaturge – Jacob Rajan and Justin Lewis’s Mrs Krishnan’s Party (2017) and Welcome to the Murder House (2018) and Naomi Bartley’s Te Waka Huia (2017/ 2018). Also directed Len Lye: the Opera (2012).