The waters, indeed, are to the palate, bitter – Hubert Witheford
Half my life has passed me by
In my island washed around
By desert seas and void security –
Each year my heart becomes more dry.
Through nerveless fingers life like rice
In slow storm runs to the ground;
Not distance nor insentience provides
Cuirass against that mild fatality.
And slowly, slowly, our life flows
To the proud blaring of the Tramways Band
By postered walls of corrugated iron
And past abominable bungalows.
Slow though that blast, its taste of failure stings
As the salt spray from out the seething waste
Scalds, on the naked headland, human lips.
Let me fathom that sheer taste.
O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.