Lines On Stone

A bit of tidying needing to be done in the garden at Robert’s mother’s house, was a good excuse for another trip to Queenstown. While downtown looking out for a place with good coffee, we stopped off at Aotearoa’s outgoing poet laureate, David Eggleton‘s poem doing the loop around the lake-front wall. (The word I am pointing to is ‘Celtic’.)

Kudos to David E. whose role as our poet laureate over these last two difficult and unavoidably ragged years, has been one played out with an unruffled, quiet dignity and authenticity. He sought the country’s pulse and held his finger to it, reflecting in his work, as always, a grass roots sensibility.

Poetry composed while in the role of laureate was made accessible to the public and whenever there was the chance to do so, was taken ‘on the road’. As a troubadour poet and ever the generous champion for under-the-radar performers, artists, artistes and writers, David positioned the spotlight to shine on to other creatives he invited to stand alongside.

It was a real honour to be invited by him to be one of three support poets at his inauguration at Matahiwi marae two years ago. A memory I will always cherish. The other two poets were Michael O’Leary and Jenny Powell.

Tāhuna Queenstown – as ever, it does my heart good to be here.

Black-backed gulls always look as if they couldn’t givva.

Queenstown is starting to fill up with visitors once more. From my perspective, I liked it when it was quiet. But it was bound not to last. Sigh.

L-R: Cecil Peak, Walter Peak. Robert suggested Walter is the elegant model seeking a runway to show off on, while Cecil is the burly builder who builds the runway.

Solid old Cecil is my favourite.

Cecil Peak, Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

It’s snowing on Cecil,
his flanks vulnerable
wherever the sun shines
on scowl of rock. Screes
and gullies frigid
with weather frozen solid.

The Earnslaw, soon to become electric. No more coal-fired engine with its black smoke streamer. Remembering back to my very first trip on the Earnslaw as a kid, it was the smell of the coal-fired heat coming from the engine room I remember most; forget about the view. But then, kids don’t actually go for views, as such. It’s the visceral that kids go for.

Sitting on a rock in the sun beside a statue of a frolicking dog. Queenstown Gardens.

Recognise? The cheese ad. building. Spear Grass Flat Road.

At the same location, Robert stands outside an old stone cottage that once featured in an overseas ad. for batteries. Robert’s mother featured in the ad. filmed a number of years ago now. The role required her to play the part of a quaint, peasant-farmer’s wife standing outside the door of the cottage throwing handfuls of wheat to a bunch of chickens. I believe it took a whole day (or maybe more) for what ended up as less than a minute’s appearance. I also believe that she was paid well for her part.

Author:

Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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