One World

Opening the accordion of your book you look
out to sea—the sand shifts, slides, silts, stretches behind
among dun dune flanks, drifts, banks, fleshing the beach,
creates a seascrape, placates the waves that break,
wet mouthed, in a language that cannot be deciphered,
held together by inky blots of bluebottle jellyfish,
demarcating the shore line, making a bed for mangroves,

sand tickles through your hands, the egg timer’s trickle of
instant infiltrating towels, toes, feet, sheets, carpet, mat,
crotches, watches, bikinis and togs. Sand cannot build
a house for the Lord, thank heavens, or castles, but it can
stand for oases, deserts, burnt-out campsites, caravans.
Sand grows shellfish and succulents such as aloe that heal.
Kuaka camouflage with it. The colour of summer haze

sand sounds of caesuras, fills the distance between cloudy
dreams and the open seas, clogs the vacuum cleaner.
A few grains may wreck the computer too, sabotage a camera,
grind the house paint into traces, make stucco and glass,
grow pīngao.  Sand is for drawing a fine line on.
A brimming horizon where Hine-ahu-one makes her plans,
absorbs the seasurge, Tāne’s inseminations, births earth.

Briar Wood grew up in South Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. Until 2012, she lived and worked as a lecturer in Britain. Welcome Beltane (Palores Press, 2012) made poetic links between family histories and contemporary places. The most recent collection Rāwāhi (Anahera Press, 2017) is focused through a return to Northland places where her Te Hikutū ki Hokianga, Ngāpuhi Nui whakapapa resonates with ecological concerns.

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Briar on NZEPC