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Scarred bridge wears more grey
over one of two streams which meet
at settlement’s foot, in half-light.
The creek out of the northeast has trout
in pools beyond tangerine sawdust spilt
from a resurrected mill; western
water feeds only blackberry and lawyer.
Like over-ripe apples, spaced clankings,
strokes on metal at the garage, shape
themselves round. Dilated, they drop
into no record, tumbled head
over turkey under the bridge.
Footbridge these days, gouged with happening
least remembered. Entrenched, grooves were
rails’ holdfast, which subsumed
a temperamental service not much expert
at timetables, humanly likely to stop
short of expectation. Uneconomic
as sympathy or error, the station was
condemned, culled. Single asset, old iron,
lifted from the roadbed. Sleepers
awoke, streaking from pyre to pyre.
The goods shed peels sheets of burnt skin.
Summer tan pales from offices,
waiting room, ticket sales, and postal
section. Rats’, possum ords, disenchant
nostalgic interlopers.
Angled across the path to the turntable
pit, a car without wheels loiters,
open to winds’ backseat wooing.
Proudly here pre-war scarlet Studebaker
Diamond-T trucks backed and filled.
On Saturday nights the train got in
about the time pictures ended
at the Hall. Every
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
I saw, waiting with Chuck afterwards
in case anyone wanted a lift
up to the Forest; who took off downstream,
down the valley, obsolete as
a war, spendthrift, prematurely drifted.
The line never went further.
                                                                         11. 3. 71
Editor's note
Dried Out Station : first published in The Seal in the Dolphin Pool ; setting is probably Donnelly’s Crossing, north of Dargaville and close to southern border of Waipoua Kauri Forest; end of a railway line in KS’ childhood; Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers : famous Hollywood stars and dancing partners
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