from Carnival of New Zealand Creatures
The old survivor, tuatara,
observing with heavy-lidded eye
the still old centuries passing by;
slow little bloke in enamel coat
shedding his tail, croaking his croak,
his third eye watching world upon world,
an eternity to have, to hold.
Cicada summer is
the kingdom of the shrill
to screech, to shriek
to be silent is –
In cicada air all day
singing’s a dizzy leap;
cooling dusk is
Wingless, harmless little stick
sidestepping the harshest season
by shrewdly playing dead:
you assert with a wordless rhetoric
– faith and instinct denying reason –
that flesh is one with wood.
Quaint and curious knight of the chessboard,
your stately manoeuvres create
an innocent battleground of the sea:
there you advance, retreat,
across your illusory plain, erect
in finely plated mail,
refusing even to contemplate
the horizontal style.
Carnival of New Zealand Creatures is to be performed at the Bay of Islands Festival in April, with music by Dorothy Buchanan.
An obituary of Lauris Edmond by Ken Arvidson appears on p23.