Anzac Day, Karamea, 2003.
Cows assembled for
milking steam, remembering
fallen comrades. Piebald in
their uniforms, they hang wise
heads, they low, they mourn.
Milkers slip off
gumboots, blazer up
and head for the ceremony
murmuring low at the War Memorial
Plunket Rooms. Humankindness
all set to flow: attention, hearts!
Stand easy, tears. Bitterness, dismiss!
Back out near the Oparara turnoff, that
kotuku keeps up his spearfishing
operations; on the track to Umere’s
giant rimu, bush robins flit like knives
and Lake Hanlon sulks behind the drizzle.
Grim great grandad under his
lemon squeezer glares out at you
from the Information Centre window.
In drawers at the Last Resort Hotel, the Gideons’
Bible says: “Let the dead bury the dead”. But
life has other ideas: she brings old soldiers back
to themselves with the bugler’s Last Post call.