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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31 Number 15, July 9, 1968

The Remembrance

page 6

The Remembrance

Far from the vast landscape where I was born
These fifteen odd years have I been,
Living as if in a cosy prison
Among hills and harbours with confined horizons.

But often of later I find that at memory's beck
And call my mind is summoned back
Bodily to the Canterbury Plains,
And I approach them again as if by aeroplane.

Once more I see, or at ieast fancy
I see, as in my infancy
The Alps maintain their stance,
White, sharp, cold as ice, in the close distance.

Once more I see the tussock-strewn landscape
Where the rivers have riven many a scarp,
And the land as it grows balder
Reveals a white rash of shingle and boulders.

I have experienced that landscape often,
Felt its heat on a day like an oven,
Alone with neither water
Nor shade in a terrain where a man might well ask quarter.

I have seen the trees that tattoo the terrain
Beaten with wind and torrential rain,
Likewise fighting back under
The immense onslaught of hail and heavy thunder.

Through this landscape I have also travelled
Along a ribbon that night unravelled,
Borne by an insane train
Through the phantasmagoria of the terrain.

How often I have seen as once more I see
The short curve of the bending sea
Weave headlands each to each
Securely by means of a nearly invisible arch.

It is surprising to me, surprising and strange,
That my mind in this way should range
Over that bazarre landscape
From which I in body have made my escape.

There are, doubtless, reasons which explain
Why my mind goes back to the plain.
But to me the cause and effect
Are of littl concrn. What matters is the fact.