Memories of Pines

For Annette Isbey


They painted fantastic clouds in the sky.
Above Western Springs they sometimes set my world adrift —
their bitter sweet tang
like the hearts of sailors exiled on earth.
Their murmurings sheeted my hours into poems.
Above the small horse shoe of Westview Road
the earth just a way of their leaving
the sky nothing more than the time of the day.
Have you listened to their stories
of a past and a future both speeding towards us.
Navigators of the night and wanderers of the day
swaying to and fro working the breeze
even amongst many each a singularity of self
their shadows like fingers pointing out our tin roofs.
They were never Dante’s allegorical forest of mid life crisis.
Their needles were gills parting to the flow of a blue world —
I’m sure that they too
had on a Greek Island once stood sentinel
awaiting the black boats of Odysseus.
At Motuihe they stood on a headland
above a naval cemetery
halfway between the horizon and the city.
Those blue green presences
that sometimes sigh like oceans
that breathe like life itself might breathe —
every day they kept adding new clouds to the sky.
I guess I never knew I was living with giants.

Bob Orr was born in 1949 and brought up in the rural Waikato. His adult life has been spent mostly in Auckland. Bob has been widely published in magazines and is a frequent reader at arts festivals, etc. His latest book is Valparaiso, published by Auckland University Press in 2002.

Poem source details >



Auckland University Press
New Zealand Listener
New Zealand Book Council writer file