I hurry home to make my promised contribution.
Chopping cheerfully enough at first
to The Arrival of The Queen of Sheba -
cherries, nuts and apricots.
The afternoon darkens, so too the music.
I pulverise and mix, piling up dishes
to The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves.
Cabin fever shrinks the small kitchen
while outside the trees stand still, holding rain,
longing for wind and the voices of birds.
The medley moves to a religious tune
and I 'lift up mine eyes unto the hills'.
Mist-hung, they resemble
some tragic Valhalla, half-remembered,
inviting distance, ever out of reach.
The immediate, I can grasp though,
they are there for me to take -
the cherries and the nuts and apricots.
Customs stop her at the border
order her to unpack
out comes home, her first friend
ceanothus, grape hyacinths
a lilac and a snowball tree
a wind-up gramophone
playing old show tunes
the pumice country
showering everything with dust
washed away by rivers and lakes
a pile of books falls out
London in all its sooty grandeur.
She feels heavier rather than lighter
there is more to come:
lovers, looking absurdly young
actors; her children
and their children
an afternoon at Totaranui
barefoot in the estuary
all of Golden Bay
and the gardens she has made.
"Have you been travelling
in foreign countries lately?"
Out comes the moon
mushroom gatherers in
the forests of Karelia.
Well, there's the sun setting
over the plains of India
which she's seen
with her snake eye
and her tiger eye.
They refuse to let her board:
"Your heart's too heavy,"
"You'll never fly
with all that baggage."