scoria flower muse

scoria flower muse:
36 views near & far of rangitoto
inspired by Hokusai’s ’36 Views of Fuji’ series of woodcuts

rangitoto_kk
Photo by Shuk Kei Chan

I.

through
the rain
a shadow
of itself
standing
off-shore

rangitoto
somewhere
else in
sun

II.

that slow
inhale
to
the peak
held double
exhale to
the sea

III.

rain cloud
lifted neat
along its
flanks

came down
again on sea

IV.

out in the sun
above the sea’s
jangle of
light
holding
even
now
that late
sense
of
shadow

shades

V.

dawn
come aground
on its slopes
the long way
up from
dream

sky

VI.

20180129_205459

vast
anchor
of the dark
sunk on
water
not sinking
out of night

reminding
something
lost
at your
fingertips

VII.

any seascape
round the
compass
won’t look
for you first
yet you’ll
be there
last

that peak
peeking into
the view

VIII.

fallen
as if
the very
afternoon
gathering
hours up
across the
broadening
shades of
sea

set to
chime in
evening
shadow

IX.

dove
settling with
open grey
and steadied
wing

on sea
for the
day
flying
nights

X.

cloud
brought out
in the mauve
ring around
the moon

rangitoto
dark as
ever
no light
ever enough

XI.

the look
of a place
you’re
bound for
even if
they have
to drag
you there

even the
graveyard
beside the
road
doesn’t
look as
determined
as that
cloud and
sea collection
point

XII.

from
that peak
your eye
circles like
a small plane

in and out
of the cloud
on sea
looks out in
sun on
showers down
on motuihe

sees the
hunuas
eye
to
eye
you feel
drunk on
the wind
that might
tear this view
away

XIII.

in the hard
sun the waters
brilliant as
knives
at best
rangitoto
singed white
in pale green

XIV.

20181217_082409

the colour
eludes you
yet clearly
there’s a
colour
there
wave
upon
wave of
pohutukawa
cresting the
broken
crumbled
scoria
swell
that
surges
to the
peak
and

wavers.

XV.

the
chord
played
at the
opening
of the
waters

the silver
the green
unwrap

it builds
it sounds
twice
if fades
to the
rest
that will
not leave
the ears
unburden
the eye

XVI.

driftings

dusk
those long
slopes are
called to
order to
close out
any last
ridges
gulleys
of light
between
the harsh
trees that
crowd them

dusk and
everything is
battened down
in darkness

for a night
sailing

XVII.

on a
bright sea
dark

under a
sky worn
through in
clearness

that
volcanic
island

XVIII.

whenever
you gaze
wherever
round this
harbour
of childhood
and sunken
age this
island
volcano
exacts
its toll
you must
pay in
long glances
upon it
wondering
how no light
can ever
ignite
it.

XIX.

out
the gate
of our
school
that rests
up under
the sky
on the
the high
flat of
the
peninsula
i would
see that
double peak
over the
golf course
and those
stands of
pine
wonder
who else
knew just
what you
were up
to posing
there like
an ordinary
hill you
might
simply
walk
up to.

XX.

the lean
of those
slopes like
a yatch
flying
under
sail
catching
waves along
the gunwhale

as those
volcanic
broken
shores
do

rangitoto
tacking
forever
away
from the
light

XXI.

20180129_205132

swell
at the
harbour
mouth

no
dophin
rides

only
clouds
ever
lower
pressing
it in
rain
evening
stars
upon it
losing
gleam

XXII.

old bach

the baches
built along
its stubby
shore of
black rock
were made
in a time
of ‘great wars’
so was the
saying and
newspapers
and man-sized
cupboards
everything
built to outlast
its maker
the sills
littered
now with
sun and
song of tui
right through
even into the
passage and a front
door that would
ask the sea nicely
to come in
every morning
and the sea
demurred
the kitchen
invites you
to sit within
like tea leaves
in a blue
glazed
pot
soaked
with past
sounds
past light
and lives
i think i
was born
to such
a shore
such a
past
present

XXIII.

a shade
of the dawn
a morning
it stayed
dusk it did
not leave
with the
sun night
it did not
fall apart
in dream
next dawn
it grew bolder
pushed the sea
around it yanked
the winds by
the tail

this
shade became
an island in
the mouth
of time

XXIV.

in the windows
along the
waterfront
there is a
volcano
woken to
itself a handful
of hundred
years
ago
asleep
its said
till
kicked
in the
gut
by
a god
muddied
down there
in the
depths
of evening’s
harbour
under silver

before they
put those
windows in
where did it
land in
so many
places?

XXV.
The full name of Rangitoto in Te Reo is Ngā Rangi-i-totongia-a Tama-te-kapua
‘The days of the bleeding of Tamatekapua’ which refers to the battle in which Tamatekapua, the commander of the Te Arawa waka, was wounded. He recovered from his wounds and at the end of his life was buried atop Te Moengahau-o-Tamatekapua (the windy sleeping place of Tamatekapua) or Moehau Mountain, one of the major landmarks of the Coromandel Peninsula

a battle
and a long
bleed like the
rocks themselves
once onto sea
a scar cooling
as did his blood
a man who
outmanoeuvred
a tohunga strong
as a wave
to capsize
a whale and
a woman who
battered like
such a wave
against
his body heat
would not fade
would not be
done with
so easily.

he recovered,
the island
stayed there
on the water
he left his
name like a
reef around
it
knowing
no place
will ever
approximate
to a history,
rather it is
us who are
approximated
to the place

Tama-te-kapua
at the end
chose another
mountain to
rest upon,
that island
of his ‘days
of bleeding’
one scar
of a
long
life
a coming
into view
a fading
seen
far
far
westward
from
his high
place
of wind
and
bone

XXVI.

last_colours

lowtide
the mud
the crabs
under rock
you hear
their hard scrabble
of leg as you
try to lift
it away
that distant
volcanoe
on sea
turn that,
boy,
turn that
over if you
must if
you
can
lowtide
the mud
the crabs
under rock
you hear

the distant
volcano

XXVII.

fuji10

were
Hokusai here
what would
he frame
rangitoto
with
in his
woodcut?
no tipped
barrel in
the making,
no curve of
a breaker
high enough
to wrap its
rise
flatten
and fall
of line*

only that
teased out
bar of colour
at the top
of the picture
suggesting
sky and time
of day
he’d have
no issue
with that,
not looking
at this
dusk
the very
shade
he’d lay
down
first

*scenes from Hokusai’s woodcut series ’36 Views of Fuji’

IIXXX.

old Hokusai
loved with
pencil
paint and
chisel
would sketch
you on the job
planing a beam,
admiring a view
of river a-run
with sky, or
drinking seated
while fuji
rang behind you
louder in shape
than any drunken
song you and
your cronies
could muster.

how would he
have pictured us
all money and
plastics
against this
volcano that
piles downward
from under
rain cloud
at dusk
onto sea
raising hardly
a wave?

IXXX.

20180129_093558

i
dream
decades
now of
waking
a dawn,
left of
sleep
upon
you,
to its
flute of
light
that
ushers
the myriad
twists of
branch
down
to the
shore

upward

to the peak

XXX.

it
caps
the harbour
though it
starts
beneath
the waves the
long rips of
lava run
through
the tide
it
caps
the city
it stares
in the
eye
it caps
the sky
it draws
upon its
peak
wind
or no
wind
it dwarfs
its island
worshippers
the sandstone
maidens who
attend it
in tow*

*motutapu in particular, motuihe, waiheke and rakino

XXXI.

rangitoto
screwing
unscrewing
the sky
according
to its whim
of light
claim of
wind and
just how far
it wishes
to cast its

dark

anchor

XXXII.

two fisherman
standing out
by the lowtide
reef
were heard
a tangle of
voice
nothing could be
caught
packed up
for the day
evening wiping
the shore
away

rangitoto
the catch that
swallowed the
mid-harbour whole.
its belly plump
with night

and deep
cisterns
of water
clear as
starlight
were stars
ever
down
there

XXXIIV.

first
shimmer of
streetlights
on the further
shore sky
of rose
rangitoto
anchor stone
mudstone
for the
moon
blunt with
sheen
everything held
like a sinker
at the water’s
skin just
before the
the line
goes down
mind going
down into
the current
baited with
star

XXXIV.

20180129_093541

in
my day
rumored
there were
dark tons
of gallons
of water
worn pure
in seep
through
rock under
that volcano

fresh water
among the
salt
lifted in
the bore
water to
look again
upon the
clouds
its
distant
drifting
home
on peak
and jagged
shore

XXXV.

the moon
first quarter
rubbed
bright in
dusk

rangitoto
never rises
to the shine
storing its
greys to
throw back
morning into
greens

XXXVI.

full picture

cycling
down
the long hill
if i let go
the brakes
i could
roll out
so it looks
to the very
very tip of the
peninsula
face the
music the
vaulting silences
of volcanos*
out there
in sea
cast as
rustic
islands

saw
a photo
a man
fiddled out
of the dawn
of rangitoto
with such
light
behind it
such glows
an eruption
outside
untouching
the dark
of its
shape
inside
before
it turned
to scree of
leaf, reef
and tide

rangitoto
pohutukawa
sail
heeling*
at the morning
running before
the evening
the wind
in the jib
slope
of shadow
*rangitoto and motukorea
*sailing term referring to a sailboat inclining to one side under pressure of the wind on its sail

Copyright © 2018 Peter Le Baige. All Rights Reserved

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