Inside out

Some poems and reflections on life


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Freedom

For  Martin Luther King Day:

Freedom
a precious gift
not to be squandered on flippery and baubles
taken in hand and to heart
led gently into the world.

To give peace meaningfully
not a mere handshake
but a firm support that leaves standing.

To respect the earth
we tread on lightly
giving life to grow in light.

To know love
is unconditional.


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“Just the ticket”

He shuffled in. Smelling on cheap liquor. A dirty, ragged coat and worn out shoes. He searched through is pockets, one by one. Pulling out bits and pieces, gradually finding a coin or two. The pile of coins slowly built up on the counter, until there was just enough for a ticket.

The attendant had almost thrown him out as soon as he came in. He reeked to high heaven. It would take a lot of air freshener to get rid of the stench. But, what the heck, he had the money, so let him have his ticket.

Saturday night, and the balls rolled down the tube, one by one. Mrs Mac sat in her comfy chair and wrote down the numbers one by one. She picked up her handbag to look for her ticket, but she couldn’t find it. She searched all through her bag, pulling everything out. Still, it was nowhere to be seen. She searched her pockets. She checked the clothes she had been wearing the day she went into town. She looked all through the car. Nowhere could she find that ticket.

The old tramp died that night. It was too cold in the hollow at the back of the pack, under the trees, with only a newspaper blanket. His body laid on the cold steel table of the morgue. His clothes had been checked quickly and then burned.

The headlines that morning read that the jackpot had been won; and in Mrs Mac’s own town too. Mrs Mac turned her house upside down looking for that ticket. Her grandchildren retraced her steps to town, looking everywhere for where it might have fallen. By Monday, no one had claimed the prize. The search went on for Mrs Mac’s ticket.

The priest read a short liturgy for the old tramp. He had no known family and was buried at the back of the old cemetery.

No one ever claimed the jackpot. They are still looking for Mrs Mac’s ticket.


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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.


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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
ground.

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.