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Inside the wild (Te Henga, December 2013)

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

<P>You see the grey clouds kiss and the ocean <BR>go flying, the grey-cloud eiderdown and the metallic wild.<BR>The old man bends forty-five degrees</P> <P>into the west-coast wind, his golden Labrador<BR>falling behind. A dotterel puffs out<BR>to block your path. It stamps and trembles.</P> <P>Then there is the abandoned umbrella splayed<BR>liked piano fingers. The washed–up crate from Moana Fisheries. <BR>Broken bottles. Even that. And the black sand glint</P> <P>and the cotton frocks that shimmy. A mad tui tries to devour a sparrow. <BR><EM>Kishawk. Kishawk</EM>. You are dazzled by the gull’s slow landing<BR>and the knee high foam. This is morning.</P> <P>The grey ocean twists and the southerly slaps, and amidst<BR>the rockaby collisions, you fall upon a blissful quiet.</P> <P>***</P> <P>This poem 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. Eight poets have written poems inspired by McCahon’s work: Bill Manhire, Dinah Hawken, Hinemoana Baker, Ashleigh Young, James Brown, Vincent O'Sullivan, John Pule, and Paula Green. More poems from the series will be published in the next issue of <EM>Off the Wall</EM>. You can hear a number of the poets read at the McCahon Series: Poetry Reading on Saturday 15 March 2014, introduced by poet, artist, and curator Greg O’Brien. Join Greg for a poetry workshop inspired by Colin McCahon’s <EM>Walk (Series C)</EM> on Sunday 16 March 2014. Visit our events page for more details.

Colin McCahon, Walk (Series C), 1973, acrylic on hessian,
Purchased 2004.
© Courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust
Full object info is available on