From 'Dry Red for a reliable Source'


Those instants shared within the green
Of life and to be life clouded
Wastes and deep places
Had passed for him
We recovered what was
A shell and the gear he
No longer had use for
Some said words, looking solemn
As, in a fathom of earth
Forever placed him

George Black

Old Iron pots, them, rusted crocks
Lay relic to the age of whale
Where blubber boiled and
The men hard tolled
To earn some kind of wage

Hulk hard tied in rock to bide
Till time turn round again
Then men and rum, the chasers gun
Nods, dreaming in the wind

Bones, bleached white trailing right
About that deserted scene
Of great bodies gone, their bones
Stay on
The scrim-shawer wind driven sand

Farewell to the whales, to whalemen tales
To beast both prey and more
Shipmates true farewell to you
And stations upon the shore

George Black


Time Slip

She hopes he'll come today, her man
And take her home where she and he belong
The neighbours, did they feed poor puss
And the garden, oh it will be such a mess
You all must, she has asked them all,
You all must come and visit us, well, soon
The children are all quite well thank you
Grand children, oh perhaps, when the babies grow
She picks out a frock and her best cardi
For someone is coming to see her today
Or, or was it yesterday, was it? she puts the clothes away
"Mrs M," a young voice calls, "Don't you want to get ready
For your grandson comes to call to see you
Oh dear, she thinks of the fading photo
Puppy fat and the blandness of wind
That one could take for smile
How, she wonders seeing that photo of him
Could a three year old come all that way
And all on his own to visit me


George Black


I'd just got back from the fence line and the blokes were standing round
I said, "What's the matter with you lot, you're looking rather down?"
And one said, "There's a.possum in the bath-room and he's breaking things as well
So I said, "Get in there with a broom stick and give him bloody hell"
But they said, "No, a man would get him-self all scratched to pieces"
So I said words like, well golly gosh and fornicate and faeces
And marched right in with the ringamop to give his head a rap
Taking care of course not to hit and break a water tap
Well, we had a mighty time, the squeamish stayed out-side
I struck at him and hit, he leapt at me and, missing fell head-long into the tide
His face was flushed, his proud pelt damped he stood neither stench or shame
And so committed sewer-cide down in that s-bend drain
So, when some talk of their heroics or brave deeds that they did
All I did was pull the chain and sit down on the lid.

George Black




Mooring lines snaring, cob-webbing
Upon the brown greasy tide
reflect the mirrored unshone hulls
So long and hulked at lie.

I remember
The Wanganul Coasters how they snuggled to a rest
The wall, the wharf well known then as Taupo Quay
But I see them still and still they recall to me
The wall and wharf that sent the little ships to
places washed by the salt bitter Tasman Sea
They had come there I'd dreamed and places I'd supposed
From mines south where Colliers fueled and coaled below
From towns beyond Wellington and to lay claim to swing
To load wool and meat and head out to the rivers flow
Those long forgotten cargoes, forgotten in the tongue
I watched the Armstrong Patent at unload
But the scows full laden left for Castlecliff down-stream
And for the endless rolling of the Tasman Sea


Clear Sunday mornings and quite early
When the unsure to book and by prayer
absolve themselves of life in life
I to beginnings and the walk from
Deserted city to the empty echo sky.
To the wheel tracked sandy grass flat
Blades now gang mown laying short
From where Fletchers and the Clubs
Howl to work at each new dawn
Pine resin smell, the fabric and dope
High octane petrol, the castor oil of legend
Bordered round with the lupin and sand
That reflect the eddy of cleaning breeze
There I flew the chunky square winged rider
Of thermals, oceans of the air's lost paths
The circuits of stick and porridge stirring
And circuits and circuits and yet and yet and yet again
To dream of life and not let the dreams be life
To last the ways, deeds that make each count his days
And again the walk, fulfilled, slowly home
To earn the coin to live again.

George Black