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Experiment 13

The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party

(for James K Baxter)

The details may be lost among
the lessons we have since learned,
but that day is incised on
this untempered memory
like a stone grating on a sword,
when we wandered down
to the city via every coffee house
in George Street, when you
asked of how growing kumaras
would stay a hardening of the blood.
And rumbling out beyond St Clair
the sea has spoken to us.
page 26 There is nothing spectacular
in this; it is the kind of thing
you accept, bending your shoulders
a little as though time
were sizing you up for its coffin —
the grave beckons, we will all die
old barbarians. But then, then
we raided nothing but arguments
and the jars on the mantlepiece,
to celebrate in our
different ways a coming of age.

P F Ireland.