Psalm 49

We came like refugees to settle within your concrete block walls –
Ran outdoors that first autumn evening to point at the returning V
Of wild geese honking above your grey colour-steel roof –

When time came for my wife’s father to die, we brought him to your
Sanctuary – Cared for him, while you stood solid and practical about us –
After – We planted two white-flesh peach trees in your back lawn –

These are the memories that crowd my shaken mind as I struggle
To comprehend your impending demolition – Slowly realise –
You are greater than bricks & mortar – Greater even than memory

Till (unexpected) I am seized with fiery apprehension – Out of heart’s
Eye he flies – A wild goose: returning, craning, wheeling, honking
Above Brooklands Lagoon – & my eyes cloud – In a sudden mist of tears

Kevin Moran 18/12/10

Whakapapa: I wrote this the week after we heard that our home was likely to be demolished because of earthquake damage. The first reaction I had was sadness & grief that our lounge, in which we cared for Annette’s father, Eric Robinson, as he lay dying, would be bulldozed. After his death we planted two of his white-flesh peach trees in our backyard. Eric had painstakingly grown them from the stones of a peach tree on his & Jean’s property. I thought of the possibility that the peach trees would be lost if the land needed to be remediated. There are so many other memories & associations Annette and I had around our home. I also thought of the soul of the house: that a house is much more than simple materials that can be easily replaced by other materials. In a sense it is a soul, a living presence, imbued by the memories & presences of those who have lived in it. As I wrote the last verse I saw wild geese in my imagination. The wild goose is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Tears came as I wrote. A ‘sudden mist’ rolling in off the sea is very common in Brooklands. As I prepare these poems for publication (27/10/12) I am aware of a profound sense of loss. When I originally wrote the poem I thought the possible scenario was that our house would be demolished & rebuilt on the land in which it stood. This was not what happened. After further huge earthquakes the whole of Brooklands was red-zoned & consequently abandoned. Our home at 78 Harbour Road has been bulldozed to the ground. The fruit trees remain.

This entry was posted in Psalms. Bookmark the permalink.