Wednesday, 18 August 2010

for the derelicts

buildings in Port Chalmers

Dunedin and its environs is full of beautiful, old buildings and people who care about what eventually happens to them.These fighters are tireless toilers, fighting for the conservation of the buildings with written submissions, lobbying, attending meetings etc.with the dedication and passion that such work demands. I really have no idea of what goes into such efforts, but I  admire people who have a heart for, and do all they can to save, what deserves to be saved. When we have no respect for our past, we cut away the very ground we stand on. 
Some years ago I worked in an apartment that was opposite the old Post Office in the Exchange area of Princes Street, once the commercial hub of Dunedin. Looking out the window I looked straight into the heart and soul, the dead eyes, of something abandoned and derelict. 
I can't help but wonder if we really went all out and gave free rein to our imaginations, and were listened to and encouraged, if something creative couldn't be done to preserve such buildings and areas clearly dying from lack of life and use? Sadly though, I fear that the resulting flotilla of ideas and energy would only scare, confuse and annoy the bureaucrats, naysayers, pen pushers, bean counters, suits, old boys et al who hold the seat of power and make the ultimate decisions.  

4.00 p.m. from Apartment 3A

From a third floor window
the rain smears and steams, 
the cool, 4.00 pm crackle
of tall buildings, the chirr
of buses and high-school kids
who yell across the street

where it deepens and tail-lights
redden like leaves. Against a sky 
the rain has deadened, 
pigeons fold over the flat roof
of the old Post Office
as it weeps black into grey.

Kay McKenzie Cooke


J.T. Webster said...

Hi Kay,
Great post.
I've worked in the Old Post Office building and I think it's a shame that it stands there empty after so many attempts to fill it. The library idea was my favourite.
Your poem catches the mood of a rainy Dunedin day in that part of town. I really like it.

rel said...

I like the way you framed the photo with the back side of the side as a pointer to the building.
I like old biuldings; they are some of my favorite people. I like old people; we share many a golden memory.
And I too will be abandoned someday....
it's sad how we let our treasures deteriorate and crumble. It's one of the reasons I love France and all of Europe, for that matter, they preserve theirbuildings.

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...