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Tidal

A poem by Dinah Hawken in response to Colin McCahon’s <EM>Walk (Series C)</EM>


<P>This poem, recorded on 15 March 2014, is part of the Walk with Me: McCahon Series of events at Te Papa. Colin McCahon is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated artists. His sweeping multi-canvas work <EM>Walk (Series C)</EM> (1973) is, in part, an imagined walk along Muriwai beach with the New Zealand poet James K Baxter. Te Papa invited poet, artist, and curator Gregory O’Brien to select eight poets to write poems inspired by McCahon’s work: Bill Manhire, Dinah Hawken, Hinemoana Baker, Ashleigh Young, James Brown, Vincent O'Sullivan, John Pule, and Paula Green. </P> <P><BR><STRONG>Tidal</STRONG></P> <P>One day I had the fleeting thought<BR>I could give myself over<BR>to rising and falling</P> <P>–&nbsp; in all its tempos and variations.<BR>The next day I had the fleeting <BR>thought that rising and falling</P> <P>were what I was after,<BR>what I had been waiting for and<BR>swimming in all the way along.</P> <P>The third day was a day of miracles:<BR>the sun came out, the sea settled<BR>and the pohutukawa learnt to flower.</P> <P>On the fourth day I came home<BR>with an armful of clouds<BR>and they were good for me.</P> <P>The sea next day had a dirty edge. Even so<BR>further out a brilliant colour was coming <BR>back into its massive body.</P> <P>On the sixth day I saw the horizon<BR>and on it the softened peaks of a land<BR>that cannot be named.</P> <P>You know what happened after that:<BR>a breather&nbsp; –&nbsp; full-bodied, on sand&nbsp; –&nbsp; a pause <BR>in which the thought of rising in time appeared.</P> <P><BR>© Dinah Hawken</P>

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Dinah Hawken reading at the McCahon Series: Poetry Reading. Photograph by Michael Hall, Te Papa, 2014

Dinah Hawken reading at the McCahon Series: Poetry Reading. Photograph by Michael Hall, Te Papa, 2014