Title: Karitane Postcards

Author: Rob Allan

In: Sport 3: Spring 1989

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, October 1989, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Verse Literature

Conditions of use



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Sport 3: Spring 1989

Rob Allan — Karitane Postcards

page 106

Rob Allan

Karitane Postcards

Watkins removed from Tonga reason undisclosed
and deeply resented the nature of the shift
a congregation ready made and eager for news
all unified ready to love neighbour as one's self
that was the first sermon and unresolved implications
politically a local interpretation uncontrolled by authority
Wesleyan or Anglican indivisible word opened up
another world. Tuahawaiki grasped the idea
how the Pakeha could be useful
Pakeha speaking it reading it provided push
used the word bloody as expletive
with more than usual gusto
understood the power of Pakeha
in silencing Te Rauparaha.


Women in perspective that old fashioned
madame Marcel Duchamp dressed as Rose Selavy 1920
taken by Man Ray a nice touch     lovingly alias     and in April
a birthday tool box from Aitcheson's Mitre Ten
tea at Michie Street getting out of perspective
that's groundwork the Buddhist say
to raise the fallen
heaven presents difficulties enough
Mother's Departure 1938     Dolores Miro
mother gathering up parcels with a smile
hat upon head
children left behind look very sad
flow past with tears like streams and waterfalls
Mummy don't go     trees stretched like cranes
all of us in this balance.


page 107

Out of the windows of Grattons Bradford
Buddha moon shines enlightenment all week
above industrial cottages forming the hillside
in slate and brick     and in that sky
or what a filmy grey evokes
the blue computer screen sets dollars out in rows
nothing changed so much as categories of change
suits us in our lives out and over consciousness
we are set in ideas     true rebels of definition
it's a communal     life all working together
Grattons is a big company     who does what and why
what it takes to run a programme
what is taken in to run itself
it's the social side we cater for at Grattons
workers need not apply.


I'm rattling a goods train shakes the cottage
as I write 'trees and rocks'
and these foundations
sea sounds breathing heavy to light
I'm held pressed in service
this way engaged in unique form
there's the tension that familiar
amongst gulls and fishing boats
here I'm held still     god's fingers around my gills
Richard tries out his earliest conversations
at the fisherman's wharf
slab eyed terakihi fed cod pink ling reply
the catch from string and net and line
trailing out into deeper waters.


page 108

I hardly knew you
scarcely measured your indifference
you are walking away
there is much room to do this
the container port is lit up
great cranes hoist goods upon the Pacific Cross
I begin to notice these trades of sunlight
how the land lies
double crossed the prices paid to all the lost
the exact nature of the deal
an equality of love?
let's see what lies upon the table.


Language's plenitude and infinite regress
let's talk poetry     the wind gusting
the children moving into the back section
— to build a hut Richard tells me
he wants a perfect hut in the macrocarpas
what's perfect     well there must be he shouts
more than my word play this game I acquiesce
grace or gross egress of the language
losing or giving way — ace says Richard
to an offer of roofing iron
to keep off rain this shelter     and all the time
claimed almost perfectly.


page 109

Ripe ewes sun their plump pudenda
in the paddock opposite
never such a lack of feed
complains a local farmer forking out hay.
These rural concerns at the first farm in Otago
Johnny Jones steading preserved as it stood
through an avenue of gums shearing sheds toolshed
granary school house privy and stables     the homestead
way over the fields     this farm was perched is still
on the green and flowing cliff's edge.
Is it safe to be here     Gregory asks
as we snoop and smell the deserted stables
leather enough and restraints of wood
the iron on the roof said to be original Australian tin
no     Australian shingles replaced by iron 1890's
grain flowing out of sacks     a farm as working model
will the farmer be angry when he comes back
Gregory apprehensive should we be here.
All these diary and journal spellings     Wai-kawa-iti
Tuckett's account Waikauwaike     Jones Wykowat
Watkin's     Whykowhite     Munro Waikouaite...


Seasons write me here     the amanuensis
inclined to lead
I decided good riddance to all the mirrors
personal worship     the girls dressed in white
the boys slick in grey pants
fruits and flowers under cellophane
an offering of ourselves     and harvest
no claim to a personal pronoun
all turned out in our best misunderstandings
I read these words at Karitane
the black hole is gone forever
heavy metal     Stuart wes hair o gods/
and Me for You.


page 110

Goodmorning trees and clouds
singing overhead     you and me
and in the same breath
to see things as they are
to let things go as they go
not getting a hold on anything
and in the world.
The world Heracleitus knew
the marketplace the town the news of war
I sit revealed
bloody scattered and divided like this
from an original life.


An impression of islands
on trade routes of earth's brilliance
islands where Maui laid his foot
on a good day's fishing
— an old Nelsonian searching February's sky
discovered supernova bright     but perhaps
not as bright as all that
another picture to put aside
not everyone anyway would be impressed
believe it or not a correspondent writes
Tuawhaiki was chief of all these lands
grabbed the cloak off Te Rauparaha's back
he left his mark on every marae
and to all who never gave away their Maori
give thanks and to Tuawhaiki give thanks
for the peace in these lands