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When they close the chocolate factory
(as they will) they take away character.
For my wife, this was part of her making
growing up in clouds of milk toffee, hard
centre days, and caramello? The Rose Garden
couldn’t compete, nor woolsorters’ arcades
or railway yards going, then gone, over
to diesel. Before days of chemical spills’
noxious fumes down the Bay road were
comforting scents by night and by morning,
tuned to voices of doves.
                                        A student
in long vacations she worked – no, nobody
worked, they were employed – at the chocolate factory:
her aunt had influence. But now, influence
of that kind doesn’t tell, the factory’s
to relocate in a country town.
Roundabout milkers must learn new language,
lift faces to speak vanilla, pastel-sweet fillings,
mints after dinner. Spicy liqueurs
set droplet stars on their eyelashes, but no
          Old identities won’t hear anymore,
incomers won’t know what they are talking
about. These have their own character,
their own scents,
                           they smell of credit cards,
short term loans, sharp practice, high rise, key monies
                           and foreclosing.
In overvalued antique shops breathe success
or what seems tainted like success but never
a breath of the true nature, never no more
roasting brazil nuts, raisins, dark energy.
On any third day the dove will not return.
          Margaret, are you grieving? Yes, she is.
                                                                           31. 3. 88
Editor's note
Closing the Chocolate Factory: first published in Poetry NZ 1 (1990), 14; also in Auto/Biographies: KS’ second wife Margaret worked at the Heard’s Chocolate Factory in Parnell; Margaret, are you grieving? first line of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem ‘Spring and Fall’; Margaret Edgcumbe writes: ‘I grew up in Balfour Rd and Cleveland Rd, Parnell, above the Nestlés factory in the valley below (St George’s Bay Rd). I actually worked at the Heard’s Factory in Parnell Rd. My father knew Len Heard, but no influence was exerted to get me the job. I have never liked chocolate, particularly dark chocolate.’
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