Colonial Verse.

I managed to push out a Kipple one day early. So instead of returning to that rich vein, I went for the obscure. I searched for Christian New Zealand Poets. Most NZ poetry is modern or post modern: it is still under copyright. The critics have libraries — I have the internet. The Victorian poetry of my nation is pretty poor (at least in English).

But this is fairly good. I think that the language is stretched over much, but I’d say that about many modern poets.

But this resonates. I have collected stones from my travels, not touching those of my late faather in law, who climbed the southern peaks.


Routine-galled, dulled, by many years cumbered,
slipping halter holiday-wise,
away into the west land.

So much cool green to see; such deep silence
to hear; clear silence; bright waters;
such deep-green of tree-shade; such chiming
of gem necklaces – birds shaking,
concealed, the leaves with crystal songs.

To hear, at evening, young mountaineers,
come down godlike from sunlit pinnacles,
tell of prowess and peril, and, taken from pocket,
show faceted crystals from high rock-surfaces.

To muse: All this, it has been like to crystal,
cold-dropping waters, clearest bird-voice,
sheerest silence, light-flashing glacier.
To be invited: Please have this crystal.

And so, like fay-bestowed flower in the fairy-tale,
beauty, fast in a crystal, bearing,
back to the city.

Humanity has ever found it comfortable
to render richest experience portable,
heart to heart with a sign indenture,
sum up in symbol, most high adventure;
till, years gone by, and significance broken,
folk ask: What mean you by this token?

Let us in kindness covet for every man
one lovely memory at least in life-span
fit to be locked up in crystal reliquary,
so all may see it, yet none see, save he.

Ursula Bethell