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Only passing through, we weren’t committed.
I couldn’t sleep for spasms of coughing,
shut myself into the motel unit’s kitchen,
made cups of instant, read You Can’t Go Home Again,
squared up to a window and looked forward
to the dawn chorus. In the event,
a non-event:
                    uneasy change of state in light among clouds
where the sea lies, and a something more becoming
visible. Flat wet paddocks lay either side of the river
with no outcry. At the edge of town
with shelterbelt and orchard, you expect more
than this. What is it depletes?
Downtown at the state Highway and Main Street junction
They were already gathered by their multipurpose
memorial waiting for daybreak. This is handy
to the Anglican church where the martyr priest was
hanged, then butchered. Another campaign,
motives are obscured, they could barely scan
each other’s faces whatever words may be said.
     Along the highway, over the flats, across
the unpredictable river carried (wayward,
inconsequential?) fragments, the Last Post.
It’s always hard to hear, distantly.
                                                                      25. 4. 85
Editor's note
Anzac Day : first publication; Anzac Day, 25 April celebrates those who died in war; it involves a dawn parade, commemorative services, and the playing of the Last Post, possibly in Opotiki, Bay of Plenty; You Can’t Go Home Again (1940), posthumously published novel by Thomas Wolfe (1900-38), American novelist; the martyr priest : possibly Carl Sylvius Volkner (1819-65), a CMS missionary murdered by Maori at Opotiki in 1865; he was, as the poem says, later ‘hanged, then butchered’; his killer was captured and executed seven years later
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