Islay, Aberdeen, Lothian, Brisbane, Pukerua Bay
a dipper in and out of a stream
pouring through composition into song.
bull kelp on Islay
make a shore like my shore.
I saw where my great aunt stepped out
in her stylish cinch-waist coat,
out of private violence into the hovering institutions of the street.
the language inside my language –
yolk, shell, nest, foreknowledge: a chaos of need, then flight.
at the top of a rise, the round church
so the devil can’t hide in the corners. I circled it, couldn’t get inside.
I recalled my son’s favourite Attenborough clip:
a snow leopard running like milk or glacier down a mountain,
and mine – us side by side in front of it, on the L-shaped couch.
I recalled my daughter after school broke up
in winter, woollen hat and jacket hurled on, paddling the kayak
across the bay. No life jacket and going like a bat out of hell. A quick wave.
I remind myself to finish The Divine
Comedy – I’ve never yet made it out of hell. The dolphin-backs
arcing out of pitch. The hooks.
And I’m going to say again that I saw the dipper,
and I saw bog cotton – outside of a poem
for the first time. Leaning in. Listening.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynn Davidson has published poetry, fiction and essays. Her latest books are Common Land which combines poetry and essays, and a novella The Desert Road. Lynn has poems in The Best of Best New Zealand Poems, Big Weather: Poems of Wellington, Essential New Zealand Poems, Another English: Anglophone Poems from Around the World and PN Review. Lynn is currently working towards a PhD in Creative Writing at Massey University, Wellington. In 2013 Lynn was writing fellow at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland.