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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 7. 1969.

At Paraparaumu

At Paraparaumu

On the way up the zig-zag path
the concrete crosses had seemed
insecure, leaning at odd angles
in clumps of onion flowers
as though the rain-soaked clay
had nudged them in discomfort.
And only the first two had
their mosaic picture complete.
This at least made sense;
the via crucis is no easy
commission. And the hardboard
signs too, decaying and coming
to grief, exhorted us to pray
and to next time bring a friend.
Now to the summit, to discover
the climb empty of achievement.
A sense of panic spins me round
to face the sea, to find with
relief the black hulk of Kapiti
beached and barring my sight.
Later as we drove towards Otaki
my memory kept recalling
that massive white statue haloed
with electric light bulbs and
anchored to the ground with wires
against the wind's taunting.
My cousin remarked off-hand
that it looked like a coffin.

P. F. Ireland