Cut off from tidal violence,
it’s safe to paddle. Keening silence
delimits tension and release.
Above the palisade of shoals
that wavelets browse, conniving gulls
bide time until their titbit feast.
Off north sounds out the clanging hulk
of shored up industry. Who’d balk
at honest work? But reclamation
for Corporate ends of sea-keeled land
pins Magna Mater underhand.
Her trustees suffer on probation.
In February she shrugged her shoulders
dislodging scores of car-sized boulders.
One crushed a local’s house. The city
fared much worse. Cribbed Gothic stone
and brutal slab smelt blood and bone
en masse. Dame Nature showed no pity.
Silica, shuck, and carapace
(and divers stuff besides) en face,
smudged self on verso: lest our votive
vista freeze, prized specimen
in sappy seam, withstood, pared thin
by reason, dare I parse for motive?
A Graveyard by the Sea, stanzas vi – ix
© Robert McLean 2012
Cold Hub Press ~ Robert McLean
OUT OF PRINT
A Graveyard by the Sea
with ink drawings by Roger Hickin
Softcover chapbook 24pp
From limit to extent, from mortality to open sea, with a nod to poetic ancestors (Swift, Valéry, Lowell, Rickword, Sisson . . .), Robert McLean combines history, elegy, satire and geology in a post-seismic
62-sestet voyage beginning in the graveyard at Rapaki on Lyttelton Harbour . . .
Robert McLean was born at Bethany in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1974. He now lives in Lyttelton.
His previous books include: For the Coalition Dead (2009),For Renato Curcio (2010), and Goat Songs (2011)