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Hallelujah on the Presidential Highway
Gore to Clinton on State Highway One
- Sue Wootton
Fogged. Loomy. Slews of rain. Hedge-row flax, tall eucalypts,
macrocarpa shelter belts. Pugged and puddled paddocks.
Abandoned cottages slide past; south-wall weatherboards
slump. A woolshed roof has fallen in. In Gore I ask directions
to the Art Gallery. The man says Do we have an art gallery?
Eventually I find it, shut. The Mataura writhes cow-piss yellow
at the bridge. Slip Leonard in the slot - a song, friend, a song.
Fonterra's silver city glides into view. Cohen creaks and cracks -
hallelujah, hallelujah - and the towers shine. Praise it all, insists
his voice of hopelessness, praise it all to broken hopeful heaven. Praise
the wars, the lies, the constant talk of peace; praise clean white
wealth, unlooked-at art, spilt milk, shut galleries, lost sheep.
Sue Wootton is a Dunedin writer. Her most recent collection of poetry is Magnetic South (Wellington: Steele Roberts, 2008).