July 10th, 2008



I myself have no talent for writing and I find it very hard work. As a result of this I have the greatest awe for people who can and do write, and even more admiration for those who have the guts to make writing their profession. Elizabeth Barrette, aka ysabetwordsmith is doing this.

One of the things she does regularly is hold online poetry improv sessions she calls Fishbowls, in which she asks for thematic prompts from her audience. This time one of the things she asked for was scenic places. I offered Rotoiti (20/05/08) and Kaikoura (24/05/08). She chose Kaikoura, and here's the result.



The Beaches of Kaikoura

Walking the beaches of Kaikoura,
you can see where the island
folds her hands over her waist:
faultlines interlaced like fingers,
the knuckles of her mountains
gnarled as an old woman’s.

Out there, unseen but meaningful,
cold water wells up from the ocean.
Fish follow it, with whales and dolphins
following the fish. At low tide,
seals stretch themselves
along the pebbled shore.

Overhead, long white clouds
arrange themselves in rolls.
There are languages lost in the hollows
of this land, like tufts of fur
caught in rough bark.
This place plucks at you that way.

The people come and go.
Only the mountains remain,
their intricately knitted chains
embracing cold clear tides,
against which all our urgency is
no more than the scuttling of crayfish. 

                                                Elizabeth Barrette