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I’m not going to try describing that run
from down by the creek where it starts being
a river, up to the ridge where everything falls
away westward. For the first time again
you look out on a sea bigger, further, than remembered.
Although, you have waited for it
                                                    from down there
where shabby, ramshackle, derelict are just terms
for occupation. An abandoned railway line’s last
station, scruffy general store also garage,
wornout fridges at roadside where used to be
old milkcans for meat and mail; after,
that place where the post office was and the school
then, and then where the school before that was.
It’s all sheep now.
                            God, how many years of it
passing through, passing by. I was transported,
have driven, drive. Going from here to there,
that’s a text. And another text, and one more, rewritten.
The seeing part, and saying part:
I said to one wife, replied.
I said to another wife, replied.
Each, another text, another saying, another seeing.
Neither did the one see or other say but yet
what one saw another has or has not said,
while I am telling one what I am thinking/said
to other ("Around this bend used to be
a hell of a big pothole – whang! Still is")
as if it were always true. We live by
what’s past made over ‘As if’, so many milkcans,
so many projects for the future
You can’t step twice into the same river.
What you first dipped toe in was only as if, truly.
But when you get up on the top, and the sea
is there, the remembering of it as well
from before first perhaps, that’s another
part of a text and feels like
                              the same again.
Heraclitus was only talking about rivers,
or about when a shallow creek running over stone
begins to think that it’s a river.
                                                                                      24. 7. 83
Editor's note
Deconstructing: first published in Ariel, XVI, 4 (October 1985), 47; also in Stories About Wooden Keyboards and Selected Poems (1989); the setting of the poem is near Donnellys Crossing, Northland, north of Dargaville; Heraclitus: c. 500BC, Greek Philosopher, one of whose adages was ‘you can never step into the same river twice’
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