Intimacy - Raymond Ward
The house is nailed up and boarded in
by a tall fence of ain;
drab windows laces with team
and in the corners of the ceiling
twilight of a stormy afternoon.
No calls anticipated.
Gone from the mantelpiece the clock:
for once time will not tell,
safely bound in the bottom drawer
and gagged with a bed sock.
The Morgue – James K. Baxter
Each morning when I lit the coke furnace
Unwillingly I passed the locked door,
The room where Death lived. Shadowless infection
Looked form the blind panes, and an open secret
Stained even the red flowers in the rock garden
Flesh-fingered under the sanatorium wall.
And each day the patients coming and going
From light jobs, joking below the sombre pines,
Would pass without looking, their faces leaner
As if the wintry neighbourhood of Death
Would strip the shuddering flesh from bone. They shouted,
Threw clods at one another, and passed on.
But when at length, with stiff broom and bucket,
I opened the door wide – well, there was nothing
To fear. Only the bare close concrete wall,
A slab of stone, and a wheeled canvas stretcher.
For Death had shifted house to his true home
And mansion, ruinous, of the human heart.
O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.