Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Where and When - Allen Curnow

Where the big crowds come, the street,
the stadium, the park where the young
go crazy to the beat
and the heated bubble of the song,
thoughts running loose, I tell
myself, the years will have blipped past,
one by one the lot of us here present will
be gone into the dark. Someone’s last
hour’s always next, right here and now.
Deep under the bark of that great oak
my father’s lifetime’s told in rings, which grow
to outlive me too. Gently as I stroke
this child’s head, I’m thinking, ‘Goodbye!
It’s all yours now, the season’s crop —
your time to bud, and bloom, while my
late leaves wither and drop — ’
And which day of which year
to come will turn out to have been
the anniversary, distant or near,
of my death? Good question. The scene,
will it be wartime, on a trip,
or at home or in some nearby
street, crashed coach or a ship-
wreck that I’m to die?
Cadavers couldn’t care less where they rot,
yet the living tissue leans (as best it may)
toward the long-loved familiar spot
for its rest. Mine does, think of it that way.
Freshly dug. Young things, chase your ball.
Nature’s not watching, only minding,
by its own light perpetual
beauty of its own fact or finding.

Sharpe, I. (Ed.). (2001, January 1). Best New Zealand Poems 2001. Retrieved from http://www.victoria.ac.nz/modernletters/bnzp/2001/home.html

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