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No breeze to move curtains at long windows
or scatter ponies into madcap cantering
because . . . because it’s half-dark, night is
coming on, perhaps storm. Nothing can stop it,
the way with ponies in spite of what townsfolk say.
As a reason it will do, if not for
the Bishop who is a great hiker, has just walked
home calling in on his way to tell no good news
from further down the island. He listens to the Bishop.
Then at the table where he does not permit
disturbing his papers, he plans a wind to rise.
It will scamper papers helterskelter,
It will fan any spark in the fern into fire
crackling like musketry. This wind will run
drumming down the island, like hoofbeats.
General Cameron’s regulars have not yet crossed
the Mangatawhiri line. Militia and Forest Rangers
are eager to have a go.
                                   Brigadier Carey intrigues
with city businessmen and politicians.
Down South they are going to call this (There is some truth)
The Auckland Attorneys’ War (but not all truth, to that).
Editor's note
Poem Against Imperialism: first published in Auto/Biographies; the subject of this and the next poem is Sir George Grey (1812-94), a commanding figure in nineteenth century New Zealand; he was governor 1845-53 and 1861-68; also Premier 1877-79; the setting of this poem is immediately prior to the Waikato War, anticipated in Part 1; Bishop: George Augustus Selwyn (1809-78) was Bishop of New Zealand from 1841-1867 when he returned to England; General Cameron: (1808-88) led the Imperial forces against the Maori in the Taranaki and Waikato wars; Mangatawhiri: river in the Waikato; it was the crossing of this river by General Cameron’s troops on 12 July 1863 that marked the commencement of the Waikato War; Brigadier Carey: (1822-72); served in the New Zealand Wars as Colonel on the Staff and Brigadier-General, 1863-5
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