Poem — C K Stead

Takapuna

(Janet Frame 1924-2004)

 

So, old friend, you’ve come to it at last
(Ron Mason’s line, and now an echo of Yeats!).
How does it feel to feel nothing?
No one will ask you to read, no unmarked sheet
will ever again reproach you.
You can ‘become your admirers.’

Somewhere along the way your brain got sparked
but your hair stood up for you.
You wrote of shame without shame.
‘Madness’ was the house of your self, the house of cards
falling whenever someone opened a door.

Remember the day of our disaster?
We sat in the hut and I criticised your poem.
Clumsy, literal, your junior in years and in pain
I’d thought it was what you wanted.

There were winged things in the garden, and
wilting leaves,
earth smells, compost, beans.
You sat in all your radium intensity,
in the brightness of mercury falling.
The thing you’d wanted was love!

I remember the walk home,
the glass verandah, matting on the walls,
and the view to Rangitoto.
Sea lanes were open
all the way to the World, those dark rough paths
we knew we’d have to travel.

Histories of the hive, the swallow’s flight,
the archives of the ant, even an ode of Keats –
all, I know, confirm it: the thing that happens
dies when it happens.
The thing that doesn’t happen lives for ever.

 

C K Stead

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Poem
Search the archive
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
Architecture
Art
Autobiography
Awards
Biography
Byline
Children
Comment
Contents
ebooks
Economics
Editorial
Education
Essays
Extract
Fiction
Gender
Graphic novel
Health
History
Imprints
Language
Lecture
Letters
Letters
Literature
Māori
Media
Memoir
Music
Natural History
Non-fiction
Obituaries
Opinion
Pacific
Photography
Plays
Poem
Poetry
Politics & Law
Psychology
Religion
Review
Science
Short stories
Sociology
Sport
Subscribers only
Uncategorized
War
YA Reviewers
Young adults
Recent issues: subscriber-only access

Subscribe to NZ Books to access the issues above

Search by category

See more