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For Shona and Michael
- Brian Turner
On the road again to somewhere west,
the morning sun's badgering the fog
cloaking the Poolburn, and over the hill
in Ophir where evening primrose
and tall holly hocks sway by the roadside.
Further on, past the Tiger Hills, grey-white
and black donkeys graze under turning willows
beside the Chatto Creek Hotel. I've both
expectation and a wistful melancholy swirl
in my heart which comes and goes.
It's as if one's rooted to the spot as well
as moving through the countryside
safe in the knowledge that one's friends
share similar moments in time
for the time being, wherever they are,
and there is still time before time
is stilled. And on the way back gossamers
of high white cloud stream above the Ida
where lambs are half-buried and busy
in the last of the lucerne
while mobs of ewes lie like maggots
beside glassy ponds, sedated by the sun.
To the northwest the long line of the Dunstans
are a buff brown, Mt St Bathans blue-tinted,
and the crinkled Hawkduns bar
the way at the head of the valley. White
butterflies dither in off-white yarrow
and alight among the last of the mauve clover.
There's a softening of the light as the sun slides
further and further west and I drive
slowly up the valley towards Oturehua
dreaming of love and peace, listening
to Domingo singing Bach's Ave Maria
and Franck's Panis angelicus, and I think
at last I know what is true, what wonder is.
• Brian Turner lives in Oturehua. He is a past recipient of the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry, and a past Te Mata Poet Laureate.