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Shadow of the Land

for Allen Curnow

This is where the body meets the land.
McCahon McCahon McCahon so holy.
Holiness and vulnerability. I will
lie with the land in my single bed.
We are trapped for fear of turning.

Turn around, face the yellow eye
of day, stretch the point out. Let
an old man's horizon be a window,
a dammed reservoir of vision that splits
the land into a literature of prisms.

The glittering eye of the minor prism
flies with the tui, bends, separates
in the way of a river valley, and in the way
of the wind as it curls froth from waves,
or spies a face emerging from wild surf.

The prevailing prism is a westerly
hitting the massive host. It is focused
on the coast. It is a wonder the land
remains. The prism's lines are distinct,
a mountain of black sand, a shadowland.

Hawaiki is to be found in its blue night.
Hawaiki is just hidden from sight.
Hawaiki is in the wealth of time.
Hawaiki is a yawn and a stretch from life.
Hawaiki is deep it lasts it is desire.


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