Title: Sport 16

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, March 1996, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 16: Autumn 1996

Stephen Liddle

page 164

Stephen Liddle

The Wedding Call

Anything wise to say, I said to my uncle. (He’d rung
to wish us well). But he just laughed and said:
What can I say to the likes of you!
You know well enough
that with the rose
comes the thorn,
that happiness is shared solitude,
that in grievance scorn is the ultimate weapon—
and easiest avoidance! You know all that stuff.

No, there are others to tell you how to
explore your inner child,
to speak to you of the wisdom of sunsets and anger,
of how much paint to apply to your house
(and face)
and just when to buy it
(the house).
They will tell you
that hard work is noble—and is either the secret of success
or the best sleeping pill, I just forget;
that humour lessens
as self-importance increases,
that if God is affection
then God is love. Stuff like that.

No, there’s nothing I can think of to say to you
except … two can live
more cheaply than one!

page 165

Oh, and I read somewhere that the Chinese
(who seem to know a thing or two)
stress fishing and gardens (in that order)
and have their uncles pop out of wedding
crackers to say
‘Never be boastful—
someone may come along who knew you as a child’ …

Winter 1995

And eventually the lines go silent, no bits or bytes
of news on winter or its song of waiting. If the heart
can hibernate why not the mind also?
How many albatross span a globe, how many icebergs
bridge an ocean? How thick is Antarctica, how many
penguin-backs does it take to break a polar gale?
Today I study the coefficients of ecstasy, happiness,
togetherness … try to remember the instructions for
microwaving frozen soup: first warm feet and hands, apply
chocolate to the cave of the voice, recall the brain’s
capacity (full out) is 10 to the 17, total knowledge 10 to the
10 to the 123. Release 1.5 mb of wit (spontaneous). Sit.
Straight up.
Then enter ‘soup’ twice or thrice, download to create a
(spontaneous) dancing scene upon the still
thawing golf course at Whakapapa,
(exactly 1000 metres up that steaming mountain)
with a silk moon hanging over Ngauruhoe
dying to be inflated.