NZ LIT 101

Modernism’s kiwi kulturkampf was, to say
the least, fraught, as Apollo and Dionysos warily
circled each other like rival falcons over roadkill
about the bromeliad gyre of national identity
in Wolfskehl’s Thule of the South.
On Team Apollo the bronzed beach boys of Logos:
Curnow, Walters and Stead, while the wine god’s posse
gathered the hairy-arsed revellers: Baxter, Fairburn,
McCahon, and equivocating Sargeson twixt
the two hosts, both sides screaming
Cumae’s song at each other while ο πολλοί
of the city states looked on uncomprehending,
waiting for the slouching Annunciation;
The Great Cycle of centuries begins anew,
Justice and the Reign of Saturn returns.



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