Title: wake

Author: Graham Lindsay

In: Sport 28: Autumn 2002

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, March 2002, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Verse Literature

Conditions of use



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Sport 28: Autumn 2002

Graham Lindsay — wake

page 180

Graham Lindsay


I keep looking at
the photograph
for some clue.

My grandparents give
the impression
there's no tomorrow

that they're up with the play,
the minute, the day,
the way they

let the photo take them;
posing inside the hedge,
some deciduous plant

which has swallowed
the pickets and out of which
a power pole sticks

like an old world
space station
or Calvary mast.

The asphalt puckers
and suppurates where
suckers poke through.

page 181

It's high summer,
the middle of the day,
coming up to the middle

of the century. The sun,
halfway through its lifetime,
has lost none

of its timelessness.
Their feet, I imagine,
are hot inside their shoes

in the limpid, sunned-on
grass he knocks back
with a scythe through

spring and autumn.
Her elbows take on
the wicker's hard weave,

hands a brace
of fish in her lap.
A sunny woman,

holes poked in clay
for eyes—cave dwellings
on a bright cliff face.

He stands behind
in elephant leg trousers,
a giant of a man,

Wyatt Earp features
up there in the turret,
left hand gripping

page 182

the chair back,
right making a fist
on his hip—

crook of elbow
a coffee pot handle
to her sugar bowl.

They're the lords
of their lifetimes,
as adept as we

at interpreting
the moment's shifting

savvy to our onlooking
from our own smug
oblivions (O arrogance

of the human spirit
so blithely at home
in the divinity of I),

as content to sit as
step out the curious
slow dance of the sun.

Why did they come?
To see more sun.
It's late,

the moment has faded.
They didn't have long
and tried to pass it on,

page 183

but opening their
mouths heard
something resembling

the cautionary tale,
told as children,
they in turn passed on.

Now they lie
in the distant wake
of the newly dead,

in a slot in the ground
in a paddock of bones
long healed over,

their bodies fused with
the earth from which
other bodies grow.