Tuesday Poem: Anzac Day, Karamea, 2003.

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.

Tuesday Poem

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About paparoa

Writer and researcher.
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4 Responses to Tuesday Poem: Anzac Day, Karamea, 2003.

  1. Belinda says:

    I love this poem, and thank you for it – I blogged about Anzac Day last year, when I was back on Waiheke Island (the link to that post is [http://www.belindahollyer.com/blog/?p=164] if you want to look at it) but your poem says it all so much better. I especially like the milkers “blazer up” lines.

  2. Jeffrey Paparoa Holman says:

    Thanks Belinda. I wrote this back in 2003 and had a go at reworking it last night. Some tractors disappeared and a petrol station. Much improved. I will have a look at your poem – never diss your own work. We say what we can say at the time. 🙂

  3. i love ‘blazer up’ too and this: ‘attention, hearts!
    Stand easy, tears. Bitterness, dismiss!’
    Yea!

  4. Jeffrey Paparoa Holman says:

    Thanks Mary. I won’t be able to put up a poem this Tuesday, I will be in Sydney.

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