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Sport 24: Summer 2000

Alistair Te Ariki Campbell — For Lauris Edmond

page 105

Alistair Te Ariki Campbell

For Lauris Edmond

Read at the funeral service at Old St Paul's,
Wellington, 2 February 2000

A hell of a morning!
The wind raging from the nor'-west
has slammed shut
every door in the sky.
But can the wind shut down
the cries of birds,
the joyous barking of my dogs
when I take them walking?

Rain sluices the window-panes,
fingers every crack in the house,
trying to get in,
trying to get in.
It would drown the world
if it could—flush the house out
until every loved and lovely thing
is swept out to sea.

What about the sea?
It too rages in concert
with the wind and rain.
Keep the rain out,
keep the wind out,
keep the sea out—
keep Death out.

But are the doors really shut
to the birds?
One door stays open.

page 106

It is slightly ajar,
but through it I can hear
their muted songs.
The trees shake violently,
but the birds hang on,
and their muted voices are heard
across the universe.

You will not die, old friend.
You will not wholly die.
The door you tried to keep open,
when Death came knocking,
never really closed.
You will live on
with the songs of birds
that cry out so courageously
this violent morning.

But, suddenly, it is still.
The wind has departed,
and I hear its vanguard far away,
despoiling other gardens,
other lives.

But, wait—
your door has reopened,
and the Sun enters tentatively,
leaves its calling card, and goes.
It will be back,
with the songs of birds,
to light up your house,
restore laughter to your children
and grandchildren.

Love never dies.
Love never dies.