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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 23. September 24, 1969

A Second Letter from Dunedin

page 7

A Second Letter from Dunedin

for Ivan Snook

The window's uncertain shape gives
some perspective to the darkness
that has enveloped Woodhaugh
as I lie awake listening to
the troubled tumble of the Leith stream.
No man is an island; Shakespeare
of all people should have known better.
But such are the utterances of patronage
and even poets must eat.

Ash collapses in the fireplace, and wind
rises in the chimney; bread turns
to stone. The weirs answer no questions.
It is as if the sea had engulfed
St Kilda and I alone were stranded
at Portobello. Our letters and poems
strain to bridge the straits,
but, drowning, we watch them swept away
as straws on a burning stream
before the eyes of hope.

-P. F. Ireland