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He thinks himself, a man of Roman virtues
others will proclaim. Shifts papers, planning.
He does not plan a palace, only a mansion
house in a quiet offshore bay remote from government
or scandal; he’s had all he wants of governing.
Well, that’s what he says. It is doubtfully true.
He does not care for the governed, he does not
leave scandal behind in his pettifogging capital.
How did the Romans manage at their imperial frontiers?
You can’t get frontiers further from Rome than these.
Yet any moon which rises is the same moon as rose
over their provinces. Provinces! countries of mind.
He has had, he will have, a way with provinces.
He plans to stock his mansion house woods with
exotics: plants, birds, animals. Surviving birds are laughing
jackasses. Among the animals wallabies, which drum.
He will come ashore from his island if he is needed.
He will destroy provinces if not their outlook.
He will in a way be reconciled to his wife,
he will be deaf. He will not remember.
                                                                                     1. 4. 88
Editor's note
Poem Against Imperialist: first published in Auto/Biographies; George Grey plans his Mansion House on Kawau Island, where he released many exotic birds and animals; Grey led the opposition to the abolition of the provinces, 1876, because they had been set up while he was governor; in Auto/Biographies this and the preceding poem were printed on opposite pages in a lay-out that suggests that they are both two separate poems and parts of the same poem simultaneously
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