There’s much more going on here
for Hone Tuwhare
From where we sat talking the hills take on a painter’s
tone, light and dark, valley and ridge, bush at night
with the small owl sounding far enough away. Both of us
a bit deaf, we shout observations across the back porch
two old gramophones not quite used to listening. Today
stumbling across that ridge, half-lit seen at dusk last night
it’s different, each step testing mud-slide sheep track
fallen trees, such subtle geomorphology, rough slopes facing
north, telling how little distant perspective gets to know
of that hare bursting from beside your foot, fooling
with your sharp-eyed observations about literature
of landscape borrowed from an unpaid library book.
Old Bess the bitch would have given chase once, but today
she thinks better of activities meant for puppied bounce
the silliness of charging off up hill when there’s perfectly
good bones back home rotting under the macrocarpa
it’s enough to be out there, reading the breeze. I watch
you stop, lay a flat hand against grass bruised and bent
by the hare’s body warmth, her form hid beside dead thistle
stalks, dry and buff coloured in winter, it is still warm.
This hare has learned to be elusive, still, till instinctive
urge to flight has her bursting away, past the skylark’s nest
through the rusting fence, pushing the heart’s capacity
to run. We romance the hills from our chairs, our beer
out of the sun’s heat, the rain’s beat, knowing
next to nothing. The risk of leaving our bones out there.
©Pat White Watching for the Wing Beat: new and selected poems Cold Hub Press, 2018)
Pat White is a writer and artist living near Fairlie. He has an MFA from Massey University, and an MA in Creative Writing from IIML Victoria University. In August 2018 Roger Hickin’s Cold Hub Press published Watching for the Wingbeat; new & selected poems. In 2017 his biography/memoir of the teacher, author, environmentalist, Notes from the margins, the West Coast’s Peter Hooper, was published. An exhibition Gallipoli; in search of family story has been shown in museums and art galleries a number of times in recent years.
Cold Hub Press page