Journal » Trout 11 » Te Anau Epiphany [Richard Reeve]
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Te Anau Epiphany

Richard Reeve

There might be no setting, no dribble of vines, nor anything
whose voluble exhalations become what we call this lake

on boulders, just a phrase's intimately hollowed-out inside,
a sentence in which the John of him subsists, his sense

of some inexhaustible completeness, without poise, perfect,
devoid of purpose, a meaning which is its own, and him.

There is no need for rain, river, the sap and rocked forest;
what is the point of warmth that cannot penetrate depths?

The boat cracks open a doubling swell, the broken hills
lean endlessly into Te Anau, which is as always purposeless,

which has no meaning save as John's grunting reverence.
In his vision, there is our righteous ignorance, the rustle

of humanity given over to prayer, there is no final centre
but what he instates, no trees, no last kingdom of the mud.

Is floating face-down among the reeds, His blood a slash
of difference in the restless and eternal rippling that is

as surely as John, each shoulder hooked like a buckle
around a straining neck. The wilderness retreats, resides,

resumes in his theology of cameo appearances; a stone
is the semaphore of holiness, meaning invests each tree,

transforming ugly beauty into meaningless significance,
till the vision seems wordless, has no motive or truth

more than this shattered light, rising through the drizzle
that covers Te Anau's North Arm, obscures its peaks.

On the east side, farms wear into the scrub like a mange
and the rumble of traffic hums like tormented bees;

the merciless slap of the lake has no significant rhythm.
Rain masks the town, God's motels shadow the shore.


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© Copyright 2003 Richard Reeve & Trout.