In your double bed, raised on a little platform
your two figures in dressing gowns, backs against
the headboard, are sipping cups of tea.
Two dear dressing gowns, one blue, one white
their sashes tied, though out of sight.
Perhaps your toes are stretching beneath the covers
toes you would recognise if they were stolen away
one toe overlapping on the left foot (high heels)
the other (male) pristine and soft.
No need for dressing gowns in the summer air
one made of towelling, one of poplin
but how they dress you, how I applaud
standing in the doorway, robed in
a spare I found behind my door.
I know you so well, I think,
and the dressing gowns seem to concur.
I hope never to hold them in my arms
empty forms and dangling arms over which I weep.
When I was thinking how to honour you, Paula, I kept returning to this image of dressing gowns. You’ve wrapped New Zealand poetry and poets in the warmest of acknowledgements; you’ve made us all feel good.