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Waverley
Captain Ross at the Customs Street doorway
handed out tracts, the Sallies peddled
their War Cry,
                                                     a sense of
the timeless as well as of the temporal
and of the timeless and temporal together
                                      in one black-browed bar.
This, during one of those wars in the company
of men whose wars were not necessarily
same, who were not together in ships
at Mylae. Sighs shortly frequent were
exchanged
                       by Roy Lidgard, by a Vos,
by Billy Rodgers, by Shipbuilders’ foreman
who hired old Charley Bailey after
his sons decided he was too old for work
and old Charley himself,
                                               eighty past
on the way to ninety having trouble
hearing, presently halfcut, reminiscing
with my Old Man about taking a yacht
up to the King of Tonga, Salote’s father,
with that Captain Piper who was thrown
out of the Union Company suspected
of running opium,
                                     asked a question
dipped a finger in his beer and started
drawing on the bar, a twisted rheumaticky finger
which could explain better than words
line of a boat growing, corrected, flowing
to. Finger pointed up, amended logic
of a case, an aesthetic. Impressive, eh?
Then wiped out.
   When I was kneehigh-to I might be walked
of a Sunday morning to the loft, its plans,
halfmodels, mockups, lines on a polished floor.
  Mister Bailey with a cloth bent to wipe
  clean, chalked in a new line freehand, swept
  ribs and knees properly into place
  timeless, and temporal, together.
       The Waverley’s elderly barmaid (reputed
  last of the old barmaids, serving out her time)
  called “Time,” cried “Gentlemen, please!”
  O you who turn the wheel
                                      and look to windward,
             look
Editor's note
Waverley : the Waverley was an Auckland pub; the War Cry is the magazine sold by the Salvation Army (Sallies); Lidgard, Vos, Baileys: Auckland shipbuilders;  a sense of the timeless …: T.S.Eliot, Four Quartets; there are also several allusions to or pastiches of lines from The Waste Land, ‘together in ships/at Mylae’, ‘Time…Gentlemen, please’, ‘O you who turn the wheel…’
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