Thursday, 30 June 2011

Train's Water Tank; Orepuki

the coconut

Once upon a time this water tank was used, not to announce
the existence of a town, but for the steam train

to 'have a drink'. A daily occurence through the weekdays
with the accompanying rub of steam and iron, sounding out

the lowing whistle, the hiss and clang as it moved off,
the rhythm and chug as it rolled on down the line to Tuatapere.

It was a familiar motif running through a town now gone.
As gone as the chewing-gum stained streets, wicker prams,

my sister's cries when the whistle suddenly screamed.
To take the photo today, I stand in heels that sink into soft grass

and I am a ghost among ghosts walking under verandahs, who wait
in line at the Post Office on lino that twinkles with stiletto dents.

A ghost in the ghost of McNay's store where once I held a coconut
all the way from the islands. How solid it felt, how rough and real.

Kay McKenzie Cooke


Catherine said...

I don't know if I've ever mentioned I had a great aunt who lived in Orepuki, back in the 1890s or so. I think her husband was a coal miner at the time, although he later earned his living as a violin teacher.

Kay Cooke said...

Catherine - That's amazing - Orepuki was a bustling town back then ... what was the name? My mother may know of the family. My great-grandparents were living there at that time - great-grandparents on both sides!

leoniewise said...

love this one!

the lino twinkling with stiletto dents made me laugh

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