That sort of place where you stop
long enough to fill the tank, buy plums,
perhaps, and an icecream thing on a stick
while somebody local comes
in, leans on the counter, takes a good look
but does not like what he sees of you,
intangible as menace,
a monotone with a name, as place
it is an aspect of human spirit
(by which shaped), mean, wind-worn. Face
outwards, over the saltings: with what merit
the bay, wise as contrition, shallow
as their hold on small repute,
good for dragging nets which men are doing
through channels, disproportionate in the blaze
of hot afternoon’s down-going
to a far fire-hard tide’s rise
upon the vague where time is distance?
It could be plainly simple
pleasure, but these have another tone
or quality, something aboriginal,
reductive as soil itself – bone
must get close here, final
yet unrefined at all. They endure.
A school, a War Memorial
11. 1. 68
Hall, the store, neighbourhood of salt
and hills. The road goes through to somewhere else.
Not a geologic fault
line only scars textures of experience.
Defined, plotted; which maps do not speak.