Air which does not know about corrupting
or the state of the nation breathes you in
to tussock and out to plains statement
running away from the mountains.
Roads which connect one scheme to another
look across a century and a score of years
to the gunfighters’ redoubt,
the last pitched battle.
Te Porere was not well designed:
Te Kooti did not understand his limits.
He was outsmarted, and outgunned.
Thirty-seven were killed, thirty women and kids taken.
Government had four dead, four wounded.
Those are facts of the matter.
Visiting Te Porere you feel unduly exposed.
28. 10. 88
That you are tested? This may be.
Or disillusioned? On the contrary, it is more
like locating (if only briefly) in a heartland
somewhere continental where memory spreads wider,
talk of romance or pity is irrelevant.
Logically, you realise the scale’s all wrong.
Nonetheless, you could be persuaded.