Lauris Edmond

posted by Michele

Lauris Edmond, from Late Song (Auckland University Press, 2000).

Afternoon at Akatarawa
for Frances and Hone

It was there, a silence within the wind, brushing
lightly across that dedicated hillside
holding its dead in its arms, each one’s
eternity contained in the long sleep of the earth.

It was a colour – or no colour – in the quiet sky
as we three knelt or sat on the grass looking down,
my hand on the carved stone of her name,
her years written there in brief relentless strokes;

it was our tears, our shared remembering,
our close-leaning bodies; it touched our skin
with the wind, held us close in our stillness.
It was – a mysterious knowing beyond knowledge;

or perhaps the earth itself, where we will all
one day lie with her, the voice of its silence.
Then we stood up, heads bent, and meandered
over the grass. But – there was one thing more –

he broke, turned, breathed hard, his great voice
suddenly filling that cathedral of hills with
a muscular shouting, strange harsh music as though
coming from some deep place beyond even himself.

He ended. We walked to the car. Miles down the road
in the silence we drew round us, each peering
inwards to see what we could of her long-ago face,
he told us: ‘A salute. For a chief only. For her.’

No comments: