THE ACCOUNT OF A REMARKABLE ENCOUNTER WITH THE SUN IN SUBURBAN CHRISTCHURCH



This is the story you must believe.
Mirabile dictu: one buttery morning,
rosy-fingered dawn long since posthumous,
hungover, I intent on the Satyagraha of those
unable to do what is expected of them,
when
            with a noise like a barely restrained
                        planet-combusting plasma plume,
a throat politely cleared.
                                                “Hello sunshine,” I said.
“At least,”
replied the burning luminary, “your address
is more polite than Mayakovsky’s was, though less
obsequious than O’Hara’s, not as chummy as Tuwhare’s.
After all,
I am a star.”
And lo,
            Miracle of Fatima –
the normally aloof sun descended, briefly pausing
to scratch his vast flaming arse
          - Vision of Jung –
on the Cathedral spire,
and oozed his bulk through my window
like a fat man getting out of a small car,
his blast-furnace breath setting off cicada pizzicato
and gorse pods a-popping.
I opted for an opening line,
“If I said you had a celestial body, would you hold it against me?”
The sun replied:
“Only if you fancy life as a crisp.
Keep vigilant for signs of burnout, though I
look good for my age, the stress
of energising this goldilocks planet of yours has taken
a couple of aeons off my life,
and you are not nearly as robust as I
who has looked down on this world
(what do you call it? Dirt? Oh, Earth. Really?)
since it was barren rock.”

“You flatter, Sir,” I flirted,
“but this sort of contact is somewhat unusual.
What brings you here?”
“You are no poet, not like the others
I’ve visited over the decades, even Oliver.
I don’t shine out your bum,
but your dedication to the art of the old school –
            Keats was a close-bosomed friend, you know –
pleases me.
I’ve neglected New Zealand, although
I see the long islands, in their narrow latitudes, first each day.
I predate everything, but maintain an interest
in literary goings on, and have so since
the first Egyptian composed a hymn to Ra, since I
was a Phoebus Apollo, patron of poets
            (they called me ‘He-who-slays-from-afar’
so Slip Slop Slap)
I know something about music too,
composing the harmony of the spheres. Anyway,
I just wanted to say that while
your pastiches aren’t much good, positively amateurish in fact,
some poets are misguided,
believing they are writing poetry.”

“We can’t all be that bad.” said I, still in awe
of the chattiness of the daystar.

“You’re writing in prose and snapping twigs,
rhetorically lacklustre,
queering the orthography – tone deaf for the most part,
afraid of technique, of language, and complexity.
Honestly, how exciting is all that shouting “boo!”
at the squares. [He’s fussier than I am]
But I shine on all things equally, there
is nothing new under me say the Scriptures,
so I just wanted to tell you
not to worry about it. Keep on your bliss
for private contemplation.
There’s radiation, that’s for remembrance; pray,
Love, remember: and there is protons. That’s for thoughts.
There’s photons for you, and quarks: there’s hydrogen
for you; and here’s some for me: we may call it
H’ o’ Bombs
though I am the cleanest energy there is, I
am still nuclear:

O you must wear your hydrogen with
a difference. There’s some UV: I would give you
some you neutrinos, but I seem to be missing some.

Keep on truckin’.
Now make me a cup of coffee,

Ta – instant’s fine.”


First published Takahē, Autumn 2007

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