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Love Song for Michael King

The Penguin History of New Zealand cover is a picture
of an inlet, scuffed by tussock, and a fire trailing smoke
like a censer touching the white cloud far above it
at the beginning of the tree-line pushed up close
to the feet of the hills. In the background is a taller
range of hills, and if you know the country
there’ll be another taller one over the horizon.
The sand of the inlet is decorated with driftwood,
and in between the tussock pokes out heads of flax
with pods ready to drop. The light could be early morning
or evening, it isn’t sharp enough to be fully day.
The sand of the inlet isn’t covered by water,
and it snakes sideways to where the smoke begins.
Who lit the fire? There isn’t a lot to tell.
Michael King’s name is below the picture
on the paperback. The vegetation is bending
from right to left and inland, so this place is
on one of the west coasts, given our prevailing
nor-westerly flow. I guess near Greymouth
because it seems so empty, and I’ve been there,
seen ghost stumps sticking out of the morning
mist long after this illustration is set. The trees
were hollowed out then, a cluster of towers in cloud.
Johanna Aitchison
Michele Amas
Angela Andrews
Sarah Barnett
David Beach
Ken Bolton
Jenny Bornholdt
Rachel Bush
Mary Cresswell
Stephanie De Montalk
Cliff Fell
Tom Fitzsimons
Brian Flaherty
David Geary
Bernadette Hall
Kerry Hines
Andrew Johnston
Therese Lloyd
Iggy McGovern
Mary Macpherson
Dora Malech
Vana Manasiadis
Emma Neale
Gregory O'Brien
Lucy Orbell
Zach Savich
Charlotte Simmonds
Marty Smith
Elizabeth Smither
Abby Stewart
Robert Sullivan  
Jo Thorpe
Cath Vidler
Louise Wallace
Ashleigh Young

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