Stewart Island/Rakiura (for Squizzy)

A rare Hector’s dolphin
rides the bow of Lo Loma
returning to Halfmoon Bay –
everything is rare on Rakiura.
even the locals
born from rugged resignation
and angry moans
stand stoic, proud
wild as the South Sea
confronting island inlets and the ferry from Bluff
These men are calloused, weather-worn and feral
who ride the waves
and tend their waters like rose gardens
carefully thinning and pruning
long lines and skin furrows sinking further than the eye can see;
long meaningful looks, cast
as the tourists land with raucous bluster
and high pitched squeals and screams –
“Listen up!” says Squizzy, commanding his crew
his Captains beanie pulled, folded and rimmed
he is clean-shaven, his rosacea cheeks peeking,
rise to the booming command of his voice
but he is not brash
tumultuous sea’s lay calm this day
I take instruction not from a Mainlander
but from an icon
Mollymawks ski and bob
like pontoons moored just out of reach
Seagulls circle and Albatross grace
our presence, all of our mouths watering and
gawping, tasting the salty sips of paradise
I am in Heaven
I breath in the crisp seasoned fresh air
deep into my lungs, my nostrils flaring
the bite of the cold stands hairs on end
brings tears to my eyes. exhaling
through my mouth, I let it all out
I let the Auckland carbon monoxide drain from my body
only to be recycled again and again and again.
although these men have never experienced
the scourge of traffic on the motorways at 6, 7, 8, 9
I now know why because I have tasted
I could learn from these people.
the women are equally as strong, equally as fierce
equally as protective of their land
and their men
“Fresh meat!” us women from up North
I scanned the horizon as I landed and saw
more than I bargained for
Paua (Abalone) and Blue Cod in abundance
and plenty of trawlers on the horizon;
Inside the South Sea’s Hotel I saw a sign.
25c, 50c, $1.00, $2.00 fee’s for excuses
offered up to angry wives and girlfriends
I had to laugh at the underlying meaning of it all
local women have given up on their local men
they bide their time and wait
watching for a break in the weather
watching for the tide to turn
watching with bated breath to see who stays.
who goes is of no concern
Rain and wind, as unpredictable as the locals
intermingles with sun and warmth
four seasons in one day is an understatement!
a contradiction in terms as pristine
beaches are bereft of bathers or bikini
clad nymphs but take another look
everything is as it should be
Oyster Catchers will likely peck you on the head
I only brought my Rusty summer dress
because I was unprepared for the bite
I leave this island with my emotions rolling
and listing, crashing about in this battered brain
if I stayed I would be eaten alive by the sandfly’s
but I am also strangely drawn, drawn
to the peace and people as much
as to the trials and tribulations that make up this land.
it would take years, to return to the land and live
here, off my life – I would leave it all behind for simplicity
but somehow there is much more here than simplicity
here, I could be myself.

© Copyright 2010 Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved

Edited by Miriam Barr

First published by Blackmail Press, Issue 28,  http://www.blackmailpress.com/Index28.html

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Stewart Island/Rakiura (for Squizzy)

  1. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian, iwspo.net

    Like

  2. Thanks Pen! Yes it was an amazing experience. I will have to write some more about the good things that happen to me I think. Jx

    Like

  3. I really enjoyed this poem, J. You obviously relished the writing of it ,as much as the experience itself. I felt I was there, with the salt spray in my hair. Good to see you are still writing, Pen.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s