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Writing Wellington: Twenty Years of Victoria University Writing Fellows

View of Wellington from Marahau

page 80

View of Wellington from Marahau

Every tract of land has its title, or so Mein Smith
sizing up the Wellington Harbour periphery
would have maintained—in either role

surveyor or watercolourist. I think of him
now, not often, some miles south
amidst the breezy constellations of Marahau

'a garden where wind is grown', hatching ground
for the storms that cross Cook Strait to rip up
Wellington Harbour, imagine him here

uprooted, transplanted, gridding up the tilted
and irrational properties
of wind and water, struggling with the meandering

tides, eddying bulbs, their crazy intelligence.
Then finally being thrown clear
of his fastidious paperwork into unimpeded space.

As titles are given and grown beyond, like him we're all
churned up, steered into harbours
not our own, or left to languish in this storm-tossed

garden where, on its windy stem, one bud
is a washed out moon, another a fishing buoy
bobbing, the one streetlamp of the nearest town

or a gong-like bubble of sound that opens the first
waking eye of the not yet born
another bud swaying on its necessary stem.