Love Song for Michael King
of an inlet, scuffed by tussock, and a fire trailing smoke
like a censer touching the white cloud far above it
at the beginning of the tree-line pushed up close
to the feet of the hills. In the background is a taller
range of hills, and if you know the country
there’ll be another taller one over the horizon.
and in between the tussock pokes out heads of flax
with pods ready to drop. The light could be early morning
or evening, it isn’t sharp enough to be fully day.
The sand of the inlet isn’t covered by water,
and it snakes sideways to where the smoke begins.
Who lit the fire? There isn’t a lot to tell.
on the paperback. The vegetation is bending
from right to left and inland, so this place is
on one of the west coasts, given our prevailing
nor-westerly flow. I guess near Greymouth
because it seems so empty, and I’ve been there,
seen ghost stumps sticking out of the morning
were hollowed out then, a cluster of towers in cloud.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert Sullivan, a Honolulu-based poet, teaches creative writing and Maori literature in English at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. He is of Nga Puhi, Kai Tahu, Ngati Raukawa and Galway Irish descent. His latest book is Voice Carried My Family (AUP 2005).