Grass

Grass

Shoulders up to the hills,
the spirit of great-great- granddad slumps
staring at the sun, his stumps
gnawing fat of the land, side of mutton in hand,
the blow-me-down windbreak around his heart
still fit to beat the band.
His squatter’s hut became a town centre in the now
metaphysical bush, rational and empirical
inheritance of compulsive methodists -
a story sewn in seeds of grass,
and read by generations,
from the concrete tree of Skytower down.

Shearers left nothing growing on the sheep’s back -
clumps were pulled out gully by gully;
standing bush went up in smoke,
burnt to a frazzle, cleared like throats
harrumphing catarrh-rah-rah boom-de-ay,
catarrh-rah-rah boom-de-ay,
with the rumpty-tumpty rhythm-track
of a colonial militia, in full fig, marching past
the rotunda built on Ruaumoko’s rolypoly belly
as possums acted the giddy goat.

Harrumphing catarrh-rah-rah boom-de-ay,
catarrh-rah-rah boom-de-ay,
catarrh-rah-rah boom-de-ay,
with the rumpty-tumpty rhythm-track
catarrh-rah-rah boom-de-ay,
catarrh-rah-rah boom-de-ay...


'Grass’ from Rhyming Planet (Steel Roberts, 2001), © David Eggleton 2001, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 2004.

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