The Old Horizon

A strange folly to plant
The lore of northern Europe
On these southern slopes.
But familiar fear helps scotch
Fresh imaginings.
Better dread a sly wolf lairs
Preys in the empty brash
Lopes through the grey detritus
Stifling the forest floor
Than let the bald mountains’ craggy edge
Cut a sharp perspective.
The fir may seed dreams of lost glens
But the tawhai rauriki flees
The tarutaru shrinks
Before its dark march.
Nowhere left for the tui to nest
No perch for the warbling korimako.
Those the Clearances
Forced to leave their homes in droves
Brought their own flail.

¹ the southern beech
² pasture
³ two native birds

The Long White Cloud, poems from Aotearoa