dangerous drink

dangerous drink

The shed with the then ‘spattering tap’; the ground is still in use.  Photo by Little Cat.

just boys
wanting to drink
sweet water

it was a primary
interschool rugby match
i hated getting up a
saturday morning in
the dark for this
put out on the silent
wing no-one ever passing
out that far each and
every boy bound for
his own leather glory
felled soon on the grass
this morning
on the side of
ohuiarangi* and
its stand-over pines,
that tap
the only one

a boy had died
my father told me
gulping down
too much cold
water in the heat
of a match

crowding at the
tap, sweat in ironed
rugby jerseys mud on
sleeve shin and knee,
how sweet it spattered
how sweet it looked
the water that could
kill us boys
for our thirst

how sweet it tasted
knowing it could
kill and i’d got
away with
of it

sweet water
sweet water
of life

september 2012

*Known also as pigeon mountain

Copyright ©2012 Peter Le Baige.  All Rights Reserved


The ‘stand-over pines’ of the text, butchered and felled by Auckland council ‘visionaries’, the peak now a sun-blasted crumbling piece of dry earth.

The music for the reading is Prelude and Fugue in C minor, BWV 847 from J S Bach’s ‘Well-tempered Clavier, Book 1’, interpreted here in a live performance by András Schiff.

2 thoughts on “dangerous drink”

    1. Yes, I remember the stern gravity with which my dad showed me the little article in the NZ herald; thinking back now, I might have even read it. I guess it was being back on the grounds that prompted the memory of the tap.


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