Cauldroned from the seething lake
Rich sludge heaves itself
Onto the rocky shore,
Settling in viscous ripples.
The steaming air is fed
With heat that’s never known the sun.
Bleeding salts quicken crystals,
A gleaming accretion,
Tier on tier, of leached minerals.
Fed by the geyser’s spew
Algae breed, scaling the lake
With pigment.
The heat fluctuates
To the magma’s mood.
These are the violent colours of putrefaction:
A turbid, suppurating yellow,
A green so bilious it might ooze sickness.
This primal chemistry is fecund.
Ferns spore.
Birds chortle.
Trees bloom and seed
Oblivious to season.
All is good:
A glimpse of Eden on the Fifth Day.

The Long White Cloud, poems from Aotearoa