Martin Edmond


The newspaper man turned politician
reclines in his seat outside the Council Chambers

looking diagonally across the intersection
to where the Chronicle offices now stand

( his rag was called the Herald ).
His last avatar was toppled from its column

at Pākaitore, the meeting ground
back in 1995

by those whose ancestors he rode down upon
with alacrity, cracking his whip 

across their naked backs ―
they beheaded it then threw

both head & torso into the river.
The empty column remains

& now this bronze effigy sits
with one booted foot upon the ground 

the other crossed upon its knee
its elbow on the table at its side

looking lugubriously across the way
at the offices of his rival

in what is quite possibly
an administrative mistake

or serendipitous felicity
in this town of graceful errors

where everything that’s wrong
will be put right again someday

just not today & not tomorrow either.

At Huriharama 

A pheasant creaks in the long grass 
the ochre-painted convent doors stand open 
I do not take off my shoes & go inside 
I hear laughter coming through another door 
It is not the laughter of nuns 

It’s raining again as I walk up the hill 
to the ochre & red-painted church 
which may or may not have been unlocked 

On the way back down I pick a lemon 
from a low old tree 
a woman dandling a child upon her knee 
waves through the window 
she is mana whenua too 

On River Road another pheasant 
or the same one whirrs into the air 
alights in front of the car 
jewelled bird, out of an old tale
I forget to look for the grave of the poet

The Grand Hotel

It is raining in the cupboards under the mirror
so we don’t open them

the power points crackle & spark as you pass
& you can’t close any of the windows properly

Outside a giant Saddhu is trying to talk
his Bombay cat onto a bus for Mumbai

frangipani trees drop yellow & white flowers on the footpath
the carillon assiduously marks each quarter

but declines to chime upon the hour
the dome of the observatory is sheathed in grey

& the sky maintains a blue silence
at least until darkness falls

with its squealing tyres & sepulchral dub
burnin’ & a-lootin’ at night . . . 

Meanwhile the desk clerk is on the phone
to Sunil, his boss, about the homeless

people in the Governor’s Suite
who are making toasted sandwiches in their room again

in despite of the regulations ―
every time the fire alarm goes off

it costs Sunil fifteen hundred dollars
so when the sandwich maker starts to smoke

we do open up the cupboard doors
& let the beautiful water run out all over the floor

then sit down to a peaceable breakfast
of bread & cheese, salami, water cress & yoghurt

& while we are thus engaged the Saddhu 
finally persuades the driver to take his cat
on the bus which turns out not to be going
to Mumbai after all but to Bulls

half a lifetime down the road from here.

Martin Edmond was born in Ohakune, New Zealand and lives in Sydney, Australia. He is intending to spend 2023 in Kurohime, Japan.
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