Thirteen waves: xii

Australasian Gannet seen from above, photo by Avenue CC BY-SA 3.0
Australasian Gannet photo by Avenue CC BY-SA 3.0

xii.

It’s not the atmosphere
that wounds the gannet.
The air revolves in her wake,
she horns her wings,
the South Pole swivels
and gravity inflates.
The earth is an eyeball
lashed and lidded;
every stabbing shocks
the eyes that drive the beak.
The hunter, suddenly goosey,
bobs on the mound of water
that will blind her.

Poem and reading by Rachel McAlpine CC BY 2.0, photo by Avenue CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia.

Note: Gannets risk their lives when they dive. Whether they really risk losing their eyesight after repeated high speed dives, I have no idea — but that was a common belief at the time I wrote the poem around 1985. Please do correct my errors for me. And what a spectacular sight they are! 

Thirteen waves: xi.

Tapuae-towards-NgaMoto-backbeach-daveyoungccby2.0

xi.

You know they dumped dioxin
and smashed the drums
and let it leak
little
by permanent little
on to the world’s
most musical beach.

Poem and reading by Rachel McAlpine CC BY 2.0, photo of Backbeach by Dave Young CC BY 2.0.

Thirteen waves: ix.

mt-taranaki-denis-bin-ccbynd2.0.jpg

ix.

The first penguin peels her voice,
and the shuffle inside the wall
is a field mouse
rushing an octave through.
When it snows on the mountain,
they feel like improvising.
The sea brushes our earlobes:
skeins and skeins of whisking tails
drumming with silk on the globe.

Poem and reading by Rachel McAlpine cc by 2.0, photo of Mt Taranaki by Denis Bin, CC BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr

Thirteen waves: iv

Cloud-capped Taranaki, driftwood in front. Photo Dave Young CC BY 2.0
Cloud-capped Taranaki, driftwood in the foreground. Photo Dave Young CC BY 2.0

iv.

Not many people understand that
driftwood
curled up high by the tide
is the weather-front,
a rendez-vous of sticks and sand,
the aged lovers holding hands
as tight as a whelk in a shell,
and the embryo of a dune.
Look, you don’t just slap up
a concrete wall and call it
real estate.

Poem and reading by Rachel McAlpine cc by 2.0, photo by Dave Young CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.

Dave Young’s note:

Strong winds blow the black sand along the beaches of coastal Taranaki and expose the broken driftwood deposits of storms long past. This driftwood serves as a foundation for the dunes.