You see the grey clouds kiss and the ocean
go flying, the grey-cloud eiderdown and the metallic wild.
The old man bends forty-five degrees
into the west-coast wind, his golden Labrador
falling behind. A dotterel puffs out
to block your path. It stamps and trembles.
Then there is the abandoned umbrella splayed
liked piano fingers. The washed–up crate from Moana Fisheries.
Broken bottles. Even that. And the black sand glint
and the cotton frocks that shimmy. A mad tui tries to devour a sparrow.
Kishawk. Kishawk. You are dazzled by the gull’s slow landing
and the knee high foam. This is morning.
The grey ocean twists and the southerly slaps, and amidst
the rockaby collisions, you fall upon a blissful quiet.
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 Walk (Series C) 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 Off the Wall. 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 Walk (Series C) on Sunday 16 March 2014. Visit our events page for more details.