Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tuesday Poem: Two Minutes

Two minutes
tick tock tick tock
so short a time
to remember 29 lives.

Two seconds
tick tick
five days of hope
stretching longer and longer
thinner and thinner


And now we stand here
in the street
beside our cars
listening to birdsong

Two minutes of our lives to consider
years that others have lost
words stopped mid sentence/mid larynx/mid thought
by the sudden sharp cough of methane

No more than the earth's reflex
as we, like Maui
climb steadily along the innards
of Hine-Nui-Te-Po
seeking the black richness of her intestines
grinding out her insides
rolling in the dark muck
while some outside
chuckle over their billions
and poor people in China
wait for coal.

But to ask why
and for what
and to where
is for another day.

Today I give you two minutes of my words
to remember all those you have lost.

It was declared that today the nation would observe two minutes of silence to commemorate those lost in the Pike River explosion. I was painting the house when the radio fell silent. It seemed too short for two minutes, and soon after RadioNZ Concert announced "a return to normal programming" which included a moving clarinet concerto and a news item about how the traffic in Napier (Napier?) stopped and you could hear the birdsong. Somehow all this mixed in my head and this is the result. I performed it tonight, on K Rd, under a smooth grey sky and to the rhythm of an electric guitar and some drums.

As a matter of interest, I'm not the only one writing poems about Pike River - this effort has reached $315 on Trademe so far. Just goes to show how people still reach for poetry when it comes to expressing extreme grief or joy.

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