Drawn To The Light. Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

The St Clair’s Piles, St Clair Beach. Taken by Nigel Cowburn 31 January 2019

My husband Nigel took this fabulous photo when he was on the beach at sunset, at St Clair. I love the view of the piles seen against the esplanade lights reflected in the wet sand. In fact, I was moved to write a poem and also invited Damien B. Donnelly to do the same. Damien lives far away, in Paris, and yet he wrote a remarkably perceptive poem. Here both poems are published together, with Nigel’s photo.

Nigel works as a Landscape Architect and blogs at  Growplan


Survivors

— Poem by Liz Cowburn

[piles’ perspective]

Sentinals of the sand,
we stand

Driven deep to defend
this beach

Regimental relics – we resist,
persist

Fight for footing! Look to the land,
the sand!

*****

[my perspective]

Battered, beaten by tidal terrors ‘the breakers’
— bowed but not cowed

Centred in a century’s swirling currents,
St Clair’s piles sink, subside…

Yet… THESE SURVIVE !!!


THE  WEIGHT  UPON  THE  WAVES

— Poem by Damien B. Donnelly

And in the tide
tight with time and its turning
they left their posts,
impaled upon the sand,
impressed upon the land.

And there they stood
ten in heart and ten in tide
for time to tend,
impaled upon mind,
impressed upon mankind.

And on they marched
up the land and on from shore
for evermore
impaled upon their wain,
impressed upon the flame.

And out with wave
woe on water and touch from time,
tormented years
impaled upon the crest,
impressed upon the chest.

And on they went
refugees in search of root
swept along the shore
impaled upon with tears,
impressed upon with fears.

And on it goes
those who run and those who can stay
and those who are lost,
impaled upon the wars,
impressed upon the waves.

All words by Damien B. Donnelly
Damien blogs at:   Deuxiemepeau; Picturing Poetry by Damien B. Donnelly
Link to view the poem on Damien’s blog:  The Weight Upon The Waves


Notes on Damien’s poem

The reference to refugees made a big impression on me. In April 2016 Dunedin accepted their first group of Syrian refugees. Damien wouldn’t have been aware of this when he wrote the poem; I told him later via Comments at his site – the following was his response:

“When I saw the piles and the lights heading off inland in the distance a journey immediately came to mind, the struggle of those who survived, who carry the flames of the hope and the souls of the past; those who were left behind or lost on the journey, the hills we all have to climb and the oceans too many have to cross to seek refuge, I am so glad to hear how Dunedin opened its gates to welcome in a new hope. I think our global commonality is that we are all refugees looking for our place in the world, just some of us have it much easier and a more comfortable journey than others.”
— Damien B. Donnelly (conversation via Comments)


Posted by Liz; Dancing In The Current (2019)

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