IAN WEDDE

from 'Good Business'

Metalworx Engineering

It's as though Metalworx Engineering in Vivian Street
has always been there. Always, that ancient smell

of the mineral earth smelted, beaten and twisted
into mild-steel elbows, the gothic interior

flickering with acetylene and loud with iron bashing,
its ventilators paddling sunlight in

and metal dust out. The display-window samples
of metal-craft with lumpy welds have been there

forever and especially the rusting toy crane that's always
been for sale but will never

be sold. Can't ever be sold unless there's a buyer somewhere
who understands that the forever crane's lifting

the entire weight of the future, which will end
along with Metalworx Engineering

if the crane's ever taken from its alchemical window
and expected to be half as real in another place.

Ian Wedde was born in 1946. He is a poet, novelist, and essayist. His most recent books are the novel Chinese Opera (VUP 2008), the art monograph Bill Culbert: Making Light Work (NZ: AUP; UK: RGAP 2009), and Good Business (AUP 2009), the poetry collection from which 'Metalworx Engineering' is taken. In 2009 he was awarded the University of Auckland/Michael King Writer's Fellowship.

Wedde comments: ' "Metalworx Engineering" is from a sequence of poems called 'Good Business' which tracks a random walk around some of the small businesses in my Wellington neighbourhood. All have individual qualities and characters and a sense of persisting with good humour as best they can in a tough world, and all also seem touchingly vulnerable and finite. This walk is also an elegy for my father who was affectionately known as Chick. Like the good businesses in my poems, Chick kept his doors open to the world with good will and optimism until one day it was time to shut up shop.'

Poem source details >

 

Links

Auckland University Press: Good Business
nzepc – New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre: online work
Best New Zealand Poems 2001 and 2005
New Zealand Book Council writer file
Arts Foundation of New Zealand
Ian Wedde's profile at the Scottish Poetry Library