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Writing Wellington: Twenty Years of Victoria University Writing Fellows


page 13


Home from play: Miranda bearing
the day's takings—a minute hedgehog.
One of the three, she explains, fallen into holes
dug by the other father for posts:

and this prize, as she places it to feed
from the bowl of slops on the lawn, lurches,
dragging a back leg so sickeningly I know
something is much broken like my own peace

for another unreasoning avalanche of the sense
of hurt that always unbalances. And damn
language fails again: only the hurt speaks
plunging to pity when the language of size

adds its diminutions. It all depends
on definition and training. Were it vermin . . .
I have kicked rats to death
spiders and crawlies, ticklers of another

trade and conscience. This small one agonises
towards the ward of shrubs to lie from sight
so slow I ambulance it with the fireshovel
bristling with pain like a hot coal
and burns
among dry leaves and twigs (while the heedless
grandeur of nature knives away at lusts
and possessions) its faint side suspiring
while we all die into ourselves as night falls.