The Resuscitation Garden

He feels like he hadn’t noticed he was dying.
All this bad news: a plague, a disease, a virus.
Hospitalized, quarantined, forced into hibernation.
Down to the ‘essentials’, bedded down, on life support.
Fixated on the cellphone, the laptop, the ‘news’.
How are the vital signs, the stats, the numbers?
Imprisoned in this prism, this hall of mirrors and lies.
There’s been flowers of course, new input into the garden.
Seeds become seedlings, pot-plants flowering, harvesting.
Surrounded by beauty, he dreams lazily on this deathbed.
He’s not really allowed to see anyone, but they come,
Keeping their distance, respectful silences and smalltalk.
His body aches, strains to hear the doctors in the hall.
Whispering, conspiring, working hard on his behalf.
He shouldn’t bother them, but he grows anxious listening.
‘Infection rate, chance of dying, no resuscitation order.’
Seems like there’s no coming back to life.
Friends at a distance, no hugs, no touch, a mask on.
Apparently there’s new orders and visit restrictions.
The roads are emptying, it’s every man for himself.
Some refute, they mock, drinking in the halls of their friends.
But at Calvary Hospital the chimney at the morgue is smoking.
He gasps for breath but his lungs heave and burn.
He calls for the doctor, why am I abandoned!
But the doctor is busy, the nurse comes, holds his hand.
In the distance the crows crowd and cackle on the hill.
He is pinned, machines beep, then there is no beeping.
The nurses take his body into the garden.
They wrap him in long cloths after his body is washed.
The light lingers over the body of Christ.
He is lifted and welcomed into the place
Where new seeds lay asleep in the garden.



A Blessing Of Tea

Mint from the garden that was
Growing in the wrong place
At least you will be feast in my cup of tea.

And then to the pot tipped the lot
Of the organic lemon, cut in two domes
And squeezed down on glass.

Bright liquid lemon-shards
Mixed with hot water. Then thought I’d add
The delicate intimate chamomile flowers.

Suddenly what a feast! This calls for bush
Honey, non-vegan but raw so just the
Most generous gift of a spoon.

And then of course, the kawakawa.
A trip to the holey bush by the caravan.
Two leaves just squeezed into the pot.

Now neverforgetting the root of all teas
The ginger, two slices, and two slices
Of tumeric too, so cheap to buy the root.

Seeing them sink like little subs in the sea
My tired eyes draw nearer. And suddenly
Feel. It’s an infusion! What a bonus!

I bow now for a while to my blue and white
Teapot, to this day, to these tired eyes.
And to all of nature, grateful for your blessing.


Peace is in the blue shoulder sheen
Of the pukeko, forgetting that it
May have been he who ate the ducklings.

Peace is in realizing the lawn grows in clumps
Like bamboo forests, with clear spaces between
Where duck’s feet fold the blades down like weaving.

Peace is in the way the fern fronds leap up
Like karate masters with multiple arms
Holding their elbows high in seeking the light.

Peace is in the dreaming sea sparkling tide
Quietly creeping along the mangrove shoreline,
Breathing through a blend of pale blue and green.

The Desperate Need


The desperate need
to feed and be fed by the ‘call’ of nature
has become a ‘creed’ (yes, indeed!) like a prayer:

That my life might in…in its utmost passion – and strife –
be contingent on the indigenous ways of tribal days
being available once again.

In our indigenous
reappraisal of the many ways that nature
slays us with delight.

Of our atmosphere being one
she breathes and breathes out and in,
and in…in all together.

We are one
as one bound,
wound, and well-rounded Nature!

What’s Good?

My cat scratches the carpet
Hooking his claws
And drawing himself along on his side.

The garden is so generous.
I want to decorate it with figurines and tiles
Like a child’s bedroom
To show it how grateful I am for its inhabitation.

Hasta la vista pasta!
I haven’t touched you for weeks
Today I filled the bowl
With half a dozen steamed vegetables
All different, each taste becoming the
One something.



She was there where the coarse grasses were so long
That your trousers got wet and flecked with seedheads
Crouching under the ferns with her leggings rolled down
Past her knees and bent over while taking a pee there…

Hands cupped like a squirrel with a wild look in her eye
Wrapped in grandmother-like shawl with her sweet head
Tilted up like a turtle’s under folded carapace and damp
Feet with heels lifted that shone just like her knees bare…

Hair brushed with spider web fallen in swathes with like
Rouge on her cheeks while the cool air she breathed in
Cast a blue hue to the full lips just parted at the middle
Her forehead soft and clear with a mist finely beaded…

And light grazing on her nostrils that now slightly flared
The dark eyes looked at yours and smiled but entreated.


Thanks, It’s A Pleasure To Be Here

I met a young man the other day, who
When he talked didn’t look once in your eye.
He had strange hand gestures as if to say
‘Can I show you over there, or to your
Seat’, his forearm stiff and level as though
A waiter complete with white hand towel, when
All we were talking of was at our feet,
The ginger plants and privet I had cleared.
His hand would scoop the air, and his eyes would
Follow, blinking with nervous energy.
A gentle man, my heart went out to him,
Hoping that I could touch with easy words
Warm enough to fill a hollow I sensed
In him, though wishing more I could simply
Give him a hug, or find those eyes to hold
In mine, and reassure him it was safe.
And later I pondered why I was so
Affected, and wondering what this man
Could see when his very presence was so
Unrested, his movements feints like he was
Refusing to believe he could just be
Here, and not somehow suggesting that by
Distracting my gaze, somewhere else was by
Far the better object of attention.
I know enough to know the battles I
Have won, and to admit that in this young
Man I saw in fact myself, my younger
One. In the general impression of
Memories, what stand out in colour are
The times alone, seedheads of tall grasses
That wave in the sun above my head as
I lay in happiness, sensing the earth.
It would seem a paradox otherwise
That interactions with most others were
Mostly a disguise, and the way many
Circumstances happened at random, the
Chance is, I’d surmise, that they were products
Of indirect words, quick furtive glances,
The memories blurred except for moments
When in bright flashes there was clear presence.
So when you say to me, ‘I’m glad you’ve come’:
‘Thanks, it’s a pleasure to be here’.
Society will wound us in varied
Ways. Over many years I’ve laid down more
Memories, interactive, full colour,
But what are the possibilities please?
I remember kayaking Waiheke
Island, hours on end with a longtime friend.
And we swam in winter on a remote
Rocky beach, crawling out onto the sand.
Naked around a driftwood fire I lost
The gift of speech. Atavistic urges
Surged in the meat of my frozen body,
And the fire and the pohutukawa
Trees breathed in me it seemed, and the full moon
Hung so clearly like a ball in the sky.
I felt like I was so fully here, or
At least, other times playing hide and seek.
So when you say to me, ‘I’m glad you’ve come’:
‘Thanks, it’s a pleasure to be here’.
‘Here’ is our galaxy of a thousand
Million star systems. ‘Here’ is why the Earth
Is a sphere, for no matter how far you
Can go away, really it just brings you
Back here. ‘Here’ is where our ancestors are,
For from the ‘here and now’, ‘there’ is then the
Hereafter, but even though ‘after’, we
Still remain here, never ‘taken’ by death.
Why is it so difficult to be here?
Is it because here is eternity
And infinity? What religions of
Doom have promised some celestial bliss,
‘Out of this world and into the next’, so
Never mind this, it’s just a short life, no
Gnosis, no deeper awareness, nothing
Like life’s journey with apotheosis.
There are many people who wait in queues
As they might be waiting for death: on pause,
Absent-minded, idling idly, nothing
Happening: except their life, rich around
Them, a story in signs and miracles
Mirroring, the flexibility by
Which if their awareness attended they
Might well abide in heavenly splendour.
How welcome it would seem not to be here,
To retreat into or out of this world,
Instead of marrying the eternal
Inner and outer, ensouling the world,
Considering the ‘suchness’ of ‘thisness’.
Discovering from synchronicities,
Sensory aliveness, intimacies,
And all manner of reciprocities,
Such that when I say to you, ‘I’m glad I’ve come’,
I can see it is your pleasure to be here.
6th July 2013

Out Til Late At Night

Out til late at night
Or early in the morning
That paradoxical time
When some voice inside
Sensibly suggests it’s time
To go to bed.

But not before the drive
Back through empty streets
And back to the distinction
Of one’s own company
Such that it is hard to say
That it is mine.

Such that the day has been one
Of recovery and breakfast at midday
Reading on the couch glad
For the closeness of the cat.
The night so quick but the feet
Did walk in misty rain.

And the evening breathing
With the sound of crickets
Outside the whirr of the desk fan.
Roaming through the range
Of what I like and don’t like
By reading poetry.