The fetch of the swell
is pitched up on the beach
to creak of canvas, splash of oar,
while my rockabilly gait along the shore
is like that of some sailor or Captain Ahab
who rocks a peg-leg made of whale-bone.
With quivery wings daylight dances,
embroidered on lacy mist and rosy rain.
White dross drifts and coats
the crosstrees of yachts riding at anchor.
Mist cools summer’s festive bouquet.
You might quench your thirst
with a quelled rainshower
grabbed in streaming handfuls
from a hill’s wet scarves
of draggled blue delphiniums.
The chill toll of an iron tongue
is calling eight bells
in the mournful wake
of a foghorn out on the harbour,
and something’s sailing south,
towards the big swells, said to be higher
than a carpark before
it is pancaked in an earthquake.
David Eggleton edited Landfall between 2010 and 2018. He is a recent recipient of a Janet Frame Literary Trust Award, an Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Poetry and the Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry. He is the Aotearoa New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2019–22.