Live Encounters Poetry & Writing February 2024.
A Hike through Te Wera Forest, poems by Trevor Landers.
A Hike through Te Wera Forest
We set off with a small pack
some orange juice, egg sandwiches, nuts
I am here for you; the forest is incidental
If you ask me for a match
I will give you a wildfire, an inferno
I am love’s arsonist.
We climbed up on a ridge
to survey the world from elevation;
You say you don’t know how to love small.
Your name stays with me always
Folded into my skin that only lovers caress
a love more numerous than all these trees here.
The Yellow Swarths
just outside Stratford
There is clover, cocksfoot
the tang of tall fescue
the eau de parfum of a pearly, sweltering summer
dry winds, drier than the most aridly laconic wit
the savage sun, its countenance ravaging
over rows of barberry, golden hay lies
the musty smell of maturation, expungement of moisture
skin, stalk & leaf burns, blanches and lies utterly acquiescent
first teddered into distress, then rowed into neat lines
they squiggle with the contours and perimeters
the shaved paddock, the bristled storks,
a bountiful dry-matter harvest
pastures replenished by seed
When the grass is amaranthine
the baler is summoned like a verdure midwife
grama gobbled gleefully
tynes, sprockets, belts, plunger
the ballet of agricultural machinery
the mechanics of ingenuity
packing the dry yellow swarths
into neat packages of bovine nutrition.
In our youth, a haymaking crew
subtle competition between brothers
a primary school boy zooming around on the sweep
here, on a pylon’s high wire
a magpie squawks clamourously
indignant the glass clip
stop your snivelling bird
come rail hail shine
laughter should echo from your pursed lips
this whenua, burnished by the alchemy of seasons
gives love and sustenance
if you lean in and listen
like the auscultations of the heart
the murmurings of an abyssal love.
© Trevor Landers
Trevor M. Landers has been widely published in NZ and aboard, He hopes to reprise his 2004 volume, To Rômania with Love to mark the twentieth anniversaruy. His next edited anthology called Ngā Pūrehu Kapohau (The Spinning Turbines) will be launched on 24 March 2024. He is following it up with a similar survey of another part of the province of Taranaki.