William Cook

Rookie (New Zealand)

The Road Less Travelled - Aotearoa Exodus - Poem by William Cook

We travelled to Mapua
through Nelson from the Sounds
in the hot afternoon sun
between colonnades
of scruffy apple trees,
their burden of fruit ready to shed
sparkling balls of blood
dancing in the breeze
& the road rides on
to Mapua’s wharf & over there
is rabbit island, framing
the river mouth with a slab of dark pine
& on the other side
— the motorcamp, nestled between
huge trees, not meant for harvest
just shelter & ‘clothing optional’
the café now spawns delicacies
a small restaurant behind smokes
fish & oysters & makes the best
burgers around, yet here it was
that another world existed
& brave men ferried cargo
across the teeming strait
on timber boats the size of small trucks
— even using sails & oars
& people were withdrawn or deposited
on these planks long-gone replaced,
to make way for the new, repair the past
from Mapua to Nelson...
still in the sun
the bay sparkles & a bright sea mist
covers the horizon — the blue sky,
faultless — the fields flicking by
like cubist paint effects in drought
but still lots of green to lead us
into night & the broken white line
of winding black roads
littered with carrion & daylight
memories, meanders us back toward
the Sounds.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, July 21, 2006

Poem Edited: Wednesday, August 18, 2010


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