Thursday, 20 May 2021

Pig Island Letters 2

James K Baxter, who i don't flatter with the best in a batch of phototographic portraiture, though dying young, wrote a touching piece on the poetic menopause, I think, on that fear of losing touch with younger passions, the fury of adolescence... i can't find it anywhere.  A noteworthy poet. I'd recommend "The Essential Baxter."

To keep him in mind something else will do, this from,
Pig Island Letters.

From an old house shaded with macrocarpas
Rises my malady.
Love is not valued much in Pig Island
Though we admire its walking parody,

That brisk gaunt woman in the kitchen
Feeding the coal range, sullen
To all strangers, less one should be
Her antique horn-red Satan.

Her man, much baffled, grousing in the pub,
Discusses sales 
Of yearling lambs, the timber in a tree
Thrown down by autumn gales,

Her daughter, reading in her room
A catalogue of dresses,
Can drive a tractor, goes to Training College,
Will vote on the side of the Bosses,

Her son is moodier, has seen
An angel with a sword
Standing above the clump of old man manuka
Just waiting for the word

To overturn the cities and the rivers
And split the house like a rotten totara log.
Quite unconcerned he sets his traps for 'possums
And whistles to his dog.

The man who talks to the masters of Pig Island
About the love they dread
Plaits ropes of sand, yet I was born among them
And will lie some day with their dead.

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