Travelling Companion

In the last post I failed to mention our tricky travelling companion.

I wrote a poem about it.

These tulips have been a delight this year. They seem to like their sheltered, sunny spot against the wall.

I guess it’s how we would all want to be positioned – happy in the sun against a wall that warms our back.

Every year I think the ancient grapevine in our glasshouse has finally shot through – just dead and dry branches left – until it surprises me with bright green leaves and the promise of a yield of grapes come autumn.

And now, the poem.



Just little things, like endless rain,
the spilt milk, parcels
left behind, necessities just bought,
disappearing, a waiter forgetting an order,
getting lost, being unable to find our way out
of Blenheim.

Was it coyote, Bugs Bunny, Loki,
Maui, a leprechaun, a fox, a crow,
Pippi Longstocking, Puck, Juno
or Anansi? Might the trickster have been
my father being a monkey
(his animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac)

making me walk up to the war memorial
at the top of the hill, not once
but twice, in a town I will always associate
with Fay & Peter’s tin sleep-out,
a passionfruit vine, the Cabbage Train, yellow shoes
and three men: Joe the sullen, Paul the optimistic

and born-again Max? Perhaps the last hand
played was the missed call from Liz in Ashburton
just as we were passing through.
And maybe the pick of them all, the high winds
thrashing trees near Hinds, the hint of home
still a trick of light on the road ahead.

Kay McKenzie Cooke


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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