A Mangaweka Road Song

A Mangaweka Road Song

No place more I'd like to bring you than
this one-pub town
approached in low gear down
the gorges through the hills.

Now they've built the by-pass
the drinkers left are locals
& odd commercial travellers.
Quiet afternoons like this you hear the falls.

On the Post Office corner
a blue flag floats. I bought
a hot meat pie at the store
a new harmonica.

A public bar drinker
tells me what I want to hear.
I play for him later
songs on my harmonica.

We know each other now
I buy my round of beers,
I catch up on the news
in small town public bars.

They ask me why I travel
& never settle down
I lose two games of pool
& hitchhike out of town.

‘A Mangaweka Road Song’ from Doubtless: New and Selected Poems (Craig Potton Publishing, 2008), © Sam Hunt 2008, used by permission of the author Recording from the Waiata New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 1974.