Peter stood on the water in his gumboots like God.
He unhooked his blue water taxi shaped like an iron and we leaned back into the sea.
I thought about drowning – Peter didn’t.
A man stood naked in the water at Rakiura.
Later he told us how he cupped a baby flounder in his hand under the surface.
He looked at it then let it go, watching its tiny body shimmy along the ridges of sand until it disappeared.
We traced Robin Hyde’s steps on Ulva Island.
There was discussion on ambergris and would we know it if we saw it. Do we pronounce the s? It didn’t matter, so long as we were all consistent.
Some walked in the shallow water.
Some smoked cigarettes on the shore.
One called home on her mobile.
A weka bit my hand.
I met Paula for the first time ten years ago in Bluff. Quite a place to meet! I was there with my sister Bronwyn for a poetry symposium called Fugacity. I’d never been to a poetry symposium before and I was filled with that compelling mix of terror and excitement. Possibly because of my nervousness, I don’t think I spoke much to Paula, although she did find her way into my poem. I remember that she seemed busy and giggled a lot. I remember her quiet voice, and being delighted by its teenagey timbre.
The poem ‘many things happened’ became the title of a chapbook that was later published by Pania Press, a bijou publishing house started by my sister and her husband, Jack Ross, who she met at the very same symposium. So as you can see, many things really did happen.
(And just in case anyone’s curious, Paula in the poem is the person calling home).
Happy Birthday Paula!