It’s past Fortrose
where the Mataura River
subsides to the sea in oxbow bends
past the golf course
(nine holes, fairways cropped and obstacled by sheep)
east of the headlands
and the perfect place for us.
We’ve been coming here for years
Dad and I, and now my sister too
past low, flat, flax-rimmed Lake George
to the end of the gravel road
to Two Creek Beach and the sea.
Two creeks — well, they’re streams
brown-stained with Southland peat
that cross the sandy beach
then a narrow lip of rock
before giving their all to the waves.
Here’s what we do: Dad skims stones
I dam and divert the streams
and Sarah —
who knows what younger sisters do
while a dam is being made?
She plays. I’m busy working.
The afternoon slides westward
till Dad says it’s time to go.
We crawl towards the sunset
on the lonely south coast roads
sunburned, tired, heading for the comfort
of our tideless inland home.
Credit note: Published in North & South, December 2005, p. 127, and included in my second collection, All Blacks’ Kitchen Gardens.
Tim says: This poem pretty much describes itself. It’s one of my Dad’s favourites, which makes me more fond of it in retrospect too 🙂
The Tuesday Poem: is Aotearoa Runaway by Leilani Tamu.