to open palms, to peak-volcanic views
(at night the stars and lights their call-response, call-response)
and dozing Maungawhau.
To leaf-cover, grass-cover, and then,
to streets all pavement-lined, and forged.
The shock of smoothness, and new time,
the rhythmical traffic, the heritage bus-stop
restored and painted over. New notation:
Lovelock Ave – community centre – the village,
gigantic workings of movement, enacted landing sites
(and the left behind photograph
of still life, in that other place).
But hold. I held a Thumbprint.
A balance, in the white-hot kitchen there,
brown shutters closed against the waves
but open to Simone who wrote about her mother
and yet could also mow a lawn
tender conversation: I want to tell her
the world is on the blink. Or that the kinks in the coils
are like telephone cords tangling, internet links
intersecting, lemon rinds, electricity.
And that the letter ξ stands for 60,
sexigesimal time and angles by degrees, an index
to the chapter headings, an axial tilt, and lux –
the lux of births, synapse, sight. Cool light
on the reserves. Oh it all comes back to story
(it all comes back), to a walk by flax,
a sprint by sprinklers,
and to thanks –
for the air-side, the bright-side, the sharp-side
of fishing-line poetry
of clothes-drying-on-a-line poetry
of slim-string and filament leading to the opening poetry
and to lexicon – or all a poet can do
is keep warm and on the move. Or put
another way: pr`asino, green, from pr`aso, leek,
historic antidote to nose-bleeds
but let’s say heart-bleeds, lost prayer-beads,
(sickbeds/griefbeds). So You say:
exit that, exit all that; walk down Bellevue road towards the pool,
picnic with Stein on a blanket, on a slope,
the world is in razor focus. And so
at home I check that verde really is related
to verdiggiante and verderame,
to that verdant verdigris-renaissance-green,
and che meraviglia it is.
Simone de Beauvoir said famously, ‘when she does not find love, she may find poetry’. Helen sent me your beautiful book, The Baker’s Thumbprint, after I had lost my mother; and I was reading de Beauvoir when your book arrived. Your poems became part of the symphony of that falling and swirling time, and added – if I might brutishly extend the metaphor – the gentler adagios, the slowly, go slowly. Thanks Paula, with all my heart, for that comfort and transport, and helping with the way back. And very happy birthday.