Inside out

Some poems and reflections on life

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To escape your love

Sand shifts under my toes
Waves crash over each other
Racing to knock me down
Tide sucks me under

I race for the mountain top
to escape the wrath of your love
climbing higher than ever
to find myself
at the bottom of the abyss

Fog swirls envelop me
in quicksand sinking down
in my own shit up to my navel
where I gaze wondering
if I am to be eaten alive

Sinking down in ooze
I fall freely through time and space
landing in soft cushions of dust
scattering into clouds
shooting up my nose …

I sneeze … Tihei

I live … Mauri ora.


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The track came to an end by the beach and turned into a sandy path through the dune grasses. I carried on across the dunes. The bay, not so far from the city, felt lonely and isolated. The sea crashed in on the rocks. No sign of human habitation was present.

The track dipped down to the rocky shore and crossed a small sandy stream. The waves washed gently into the mouth of the stream, pushing against the current.  I started to cross the stream. My feet stuck in the soft bottom. I couldn’t move. The waves came further up the stream, the tide gradually rising. I was stuck fast as the water grew higher and higher.

Photo by Jamie Lawrie

Photo by Jamie Lawrie

The waves were getting higher and I was sinking deeper. The water was soon up to my neck, with waves about to crash over my head. A wave caught me on the face, warm and wet, licking me from mouth to nose, smelling on stale breath.

Jessie stood, paws on the side of the bed, trying to wake me. I rolled over to try to sleep again, but she pushed at my back, whimpering. Reluctantly, I got up and pulled on my sweats and trainers and took her out for her morning walk.

The dim dawn light hardly penetrated the autumn fog, shrouding the hills. We wanted down the path through the trees, not seeing more than three or four feet in front of us. The branches hung ghost-like in the misty air. Damp drops clung to the ends and dripped on our heads. The birds were slowly waking up, their songs muffled in the misty morning.

Suddenly, it ran across the track. Furry, white, brilliant and shining with iridescence. Jessie took chase, pulling the lead from my hand. I called, “Stop, Jessie! Come back!” But it was no use, she was off, disappearing through the undergrowth. A flash of light, an electric crackling in the air and Jessie yelped in pain. Moments later she limped back, a dark ring singed around her neck.

I sit now at my desk. The vet found nothing wrong with Jessie, other than singed fur. I am trying to work out where to find the money for the bill. The throbbing in the back of my head is getting worse. Strange lights play around the edge of my vision. The world has suddenly gone quiet.


No escape

She came to the beach to escape her unhappiness,
Wind, sun, surf crashed over her washing the stains from her hands,
The gulls mourned the passing of the clouds over the sun,
The rain closed in across the ocean.

Darkness loomed in her heart,
Love came not to what she couldn’t find
In her lonely isolation her darkness had followed her.

She turned up the beach to run and shout:
“Go away!, Leave me be!”

“Be what?” it asked, “You are who you are.
You cannot change what you have done.
No place will be happy for you
until you know who you are now and here in this place.”

“Go away!” she shouted,
“I cannot” it said, “I am you and you shall not
leave me until you love me.”

She fell into the sand and wept.

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clues to existence

Debris strewn at high-tide line
are clues to hidden realms

Chunks of feathered weed
blood red, torn bleeding from a
submarine forest mixed with

Smooth polished sticks
washed down in the storm
worn smooth by sand and salt

Neither survives the other’s world
they meet, greet and die.


The Beach Is A Road

Peace, harmony, seaside
village shelters behind
wild dunes while
rugged, wild surf
pounds the beach sand
road to flatness.

Drive forever down the sand
to a destination never
reached through
hazy mist and rolling
cloud stirred by
a troubled sea

Next town shelters behind
the dunes
in careful order arranged
with store, garage and camping

The sign at Himitangi Beach (north of Wellington) states “The Beach Is A Road”. The beach road goes south to Foxton and north to Tangimoana. As in the previous poem, I am trying to capture the difference between the wild of the ocean and the constructed tidiness of the beach towns.

© David Earle, 2009.

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Crossing over

Swimming through cold ocean
muscles cramping painful tired
Crawling over rough rocks and
tide pools to find the
Path into a suburban

Next bus leaves at 3.30pm.

If you stand on the south coast of Wellington, you can look one way out into the southern ocean and then turn around to see the suburban edge of the city. I have never swum Cook Strait, but a number of people have. This poem attempts to capture the disjunction between open ocean and city life and the feeling of moving from the dangerous and unfamiliar to the safe and familiar.

© David Earle, 2009.