THE CHRISTCHURCH FIRES, FEBRUARY 2017
A Bosch could have done it justice, or a Breughel,
the black silhouette of the Port Hills bearing down on us
piebald with the sullen red of a hellscape
in competition with the moon, big, thin and sallow.
By night a cathedral of flame, by day
a pall of smoke like a stone lid of cloud, leading
an exodus to nowhere, and dreadful waiting
in this anteroom to inferno on the plain.
The dreadful elemental tongues lick up
Mount Sugarloaf. The air is harsh and stench.
Victoria Park is swallowed by its holocaust.
Our Lady of Atheists, send us rain. No,
I am done with looking. No more will I look up
until the ash settles, and then only to count the cost.