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Sport 10: Autumn 1993

'The Spirit of the Realm of Flowers'

page 88

'The Spirit of the Realm of Flowers'

for Mark Strange and Lucy Alcock

Old river-beaten hulls,
the child-nun and her cripples.
They slept in a boatshed

a hundred years
outstretched, reminded
of breezes,

the bend where the road
rolled over in its sleep,
fell into the river,

long tables of breakfast
cherries. Our father says
the rapids—he is

possessed by them—
from Pipiriki to Jerusalem,
they are our ancestors

talking among themselves.
And Grace is a long, high
room, let us

defend its fire-
places, mirrored floors.
Evening paddling

page 89

towards Jerusalem, water
bearing its lilies, its scars—
river enough

for us—where
the landscape shrugs
a gravel road

off its back.
We are blessed and
we are gone.