So few ways out of the narrow valley
so many footprints along North Road
Sliding down Blacks Road on the black ice
off to work through the hoarfrost of morning
Walking the dog at Chingford Park
parking the car at Bethune’s Gully
There’s a photo I still look at:
twenty years ago now, four of us under the pines
ready to climb Mt Cargill
on a still afternoon in summer
Twenty years on, and we’re scattered
two of us walking the hilltops of Wales
me in Wellington, wondering
when it will truly feel like home
and the dog in the soil
of a house in North-East Valley
pushing up the daisies, and the frost,
and the life that flickers on the hillside’s bones.
Tim says: This poem is from my first collection, Boat People. It was on my list to read at the Ballroom Café this past Sunday, but I trimmed the list by a few poems, and this was one that I omitted.
In any case, it may mean more to Dunedin people than to Wellingtonians. I lived in Dunedin for seventeen years, the last 12 of them spent at 20 Gillespie St, North East Valley – the “N.E.V.” of the title.
I enjoyed the Ballroom Café reading a lot. I was my usual nervous, distracted self before the session started, and the awful weather didn’t help, but lots of people came along despite the weather, there was an excellent Open Mike section, the musical interlude from the Gracious Deviants was very enjoyable, and by the time I came to read, I was relaxed and ready to go.
My son Gareth came along, and did an excellent job running the book sales table. And, since Lewis Scott couldn’t be there, Neil Furby came down from Auckland to MC, which was definitely above and beyond.
Now I’m looking forward to November’s session, when another Tuesday Poet, Saradha Koirala, will be the featured poet.
You can check out all the Tuesday Poems at the Tuesday Poem blog.