Schliemann’s fumbling kin
forced Delphic rifts right here

dug deep and exhumed the dead
the Pythia of consumption

her brown body under the lamps
carboniferous for miles

jungle upon jungle
rows of tygers covering spoor

beware the claws ten foot high
Puss in Boots leaves his marks

Little Red Raincoat Hood
is bending, squinting

Blake’s infinity picked up
in the tread of her gumboot

the hard packed earth
does not speak but it can draw

she-oak split like a trinity
and octagonal beech

mount and fix, lower the coverslip
but the image slides away

wear the safety hat
the mist gets into your pores

pollen under fingernails
coarse soap blacker than coal

which you now know
in all its ash-soft delicacy

earth burned in offering
lest sacrilege be repaid

the Late Cretaceous
dances down the drain

water flowing out of the world
memories that must be kept wet

to balance small against large
tears against fire




The matriarch

The matriarch

Crows fly out of my mouth,

And starlings, and riots of tuis,

Adding to morning’s clamor.

I am the forest that lives inside the city,

This office tower is my eyrie

And my steel gaze on the steel sea

Is the hawk’s squint piercing

The wrinkled hide of this harbour.

All of the above mine to command

Should I choose it. I am of the flock

And the cloud. The hard sea bore me

In on the gale-struck tide.

Sailors and wise men fear me

When I lower my glasses

Down my beak-hooked nose.

The Town Belt is my dogskin

And your sculptures adorn me,

Metal in my hair and eyes,

Plastic ringed around my neck.

I am your fire at night, I bring shape

In the wallowing dark to you,

Adoptive home, you, womb

Beside the seaside. I reach out

With great grey wings to catch

Your peach-tipped sunrise

And bottle it for the winter.