I don't know much about the mechanical hawk
ravaging doves, though multiple rapes performed by
the machine we are witness to on a daily basis.
'We've both changed a bit,' you said on meeting -
Peter, I take small consolation from Orwell's remark that
'After forty, everyone gets the face they deserve.'
Thanks for the two small black & whites snapped
in minutes of each other thirty years ago – I made copies
for a book of never-to-be written memoirs.
You, me and Jeannie, the redoubtable Bill Dean,
captured back then in '73 on the porch at Noyna Road,
Sawyers Bay. That grand old weather-board that
I would soon enough leave behind, and a young
family forfeit to God knows what fate -
The two photos show us on a Sunday, mid-morning
maybe (judging by the light) after the night before
in fine camaraderie, starting in on the left over booze.
Framed there on the porch, flanked by wooden Doric
columns in a theatrical setting, the day's light filling
our hearts, tides of future disasters and departures for one
moment stilled – we are kinsmen on the ramparts
at Fort Apache – is there a wraith of smoke, an Autumn
fire in the middle distance? I am thankful for that
moment through you remembered. Tonight here in Sydney,
the moon is rounding out full, (a torch held by an
invisible hand) tracking the waves back across the Tasman
to pass over in sea mist, dissolve the telegraph poles
along the beach toward The Spit at Aramoana.
Peter, I guess some might say we are as pieces removed
from the chess board, out of the main game, set aside
as though to recall past battles and forays into other
peoples' lives – collectors of facts and figures, maintaining
our Book of Tithes, tally of worn down hurts and hungers.
Dispatches from behind the lines and times till Doomsday
rings through the heart's emptied chambers, that deep
belling sound as tectonic plates shift in the Southern Ocean.
Peter Olds spent time in a detention centre [briefly], a psychiatric hospital [intermittently], and on James K. Baxter's commune in Jerusalem on the Wanganui river for runaways, delinquents and hippies in the late 60s. A journey from Dunedin and back again. He has published several collections of poetry, most recently, It Was A Tuesday Morning (2004). Stephen Oliver's recent titles are: Ballads, Satire & Salt – A Book of Diversions and Deadly Pollen (2003). Stephen is guest writer at the Queensland Poetry Festival 2004. Three of his books, Unmanned, Night of Warehouses: Poems 1978-2000 and Deadly Pollen are freely available as e-books from .