A ripped South Island map

A ripped South Island map
by Barbara Strang

Tonight drifts of cloud
sail over the sad face of
the gibbous moon

the onshore wind rips through,
there’s a stiff chop
on the Estuary –

the birds are acting up:
oyster catchers swirl about
and gulls are scrapping,

there’s no rest to be had
in this flimsy shack behind
a stand of flax and twiggy ngaio.

You were beached too long
on this crab-pocked shore,
time to leave,

it’s not too late to pack the van
to take the road, and spin
the wheel towards the South.

following a spiders web
of brown lines on the map,
inland to ranges where the Waitaha

left cryptic symbols on a rock,
and where paths peter out
on a headland

where fur seals gather
and shelter against
wind and frost.

you can connect with the rocks and mountains of your past
Beached up
the sad grey men who once declared
they were true,

to where you came from

leave your ghosts behind –
brown seal colonies or penguin
stading on a brown rock

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