OTIRA ON A GOOD DAY
Is there room in the world for another poem about Otira Gorge
with Petrus van der Velden huffing and puffing away at his canvas,
muttering colour is light, light
and love is God. But the cheap bitumen
in the paint has darkened everything
on an already pewter overcast day. That’s not my Otira.
The harsh light down here doesn’t permit
those subtleties, nor the pastel-hued
Here all tones are gleaming, lapidary,
hard-edged, cubist, chiselled and fractured
into crystals and facets of schist, nephrite, peridot and garnet
where the fault fracture goes all the way down to the molten soul
of these islands. Any minute
the earth may stir and shake itself awake
or a mountain push its bowel through its side.