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The Spike [: or, Victoria University College Review 1957]

Gordon Challis

Gordon Challis

Song of a Pilot

In case my aged friend the wind
Should come up sidling slyly
From behind you,
Asking archly what has become
Of his lasooer, mention
That I saw him
And saw his cirrus mane
Bristling stratospheric,
That I heard him
Hoof-panic whine and shy
At scenting my blood burning,
But I let him
Slip through my fingers.

page 73

Poem for a Sailor

It's near at hand, his country,
And I went there yesterday,
Went to walk and listen
For a soothing sound, or peace.

The rocks that spoke were cruel
Though their tongues were petrified,
Spat only of the weather"—
How deep it dragged and cold.

And I tried hard then to gather
What a sailor is and why:
He knows of tides and harbours
And something of the stars.

Yet most of all he faces
The wind, whichever way
It blows; my friend the sailor
Did more than face the wind.

He faced its agile rider
Who wouldn't play the man,
Who brushed against him darkly
And crushed him from behind.

It's near at hand his country
But its tongues are petrified"—
Speak only of the weather
How deep it drags and cold.

So near at hand his country.
Listen. How deep it drags
Our sons, who heed no borders
And have forgotten flags.