Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Breath of the World

Swollen golden moon rose over Mt Martin and dwarfed a container ship that swung on its anchor, waiting.
The flathead of legend chose not to offer itself up to the wily entreaties of Old Salt, yet again.

Gawain is out checking his leather jacket pots. He bends over the beam, red anorak illuminated by the dangling fluorescent light. The wind drops. Water heaves with the breath of the world.

We pick up nets with rows of whiting heads and fish rendered utterly unrecognisable. Stingray.
I like stingrays. I like to stand in the water at Whalers Cove and watch their dark shadows fly by. But then I ate some one day and I never again felt the same compassion to tip them out of the net.

Staunch tugs nudge the Kwan Yin with her cranes, into the timber. The Goddess of mercy and motherhood once had her iconic place on dash of my car. She now distributes super phosphate all over the earth.

Wheat laden silos, smooth-plastered chrysalii amongst the preying mantis gantry, chugging conveyor belts, orange lights and steaming hot woodchips, waiting for those vessels high on the water, out near the islands. Ships in, ships out. Breathe in, breathe out.

The moon is swollen, fecund, bigger than seen in years, closer to the earth. She's right here.
The oceans rise up to her siren song. It's a huge tide. At the jetty, after only a few hours fishing out in the Sound, the briny is swilling all over the wooden planks and gently but forcefully, as water is wont to do, urging our return to land.


  1. Oh how the mighty Gods (Goddesses) have fallen. Carting superphosphate and lost compassion for stingray. The 'realities' of life.

  2. Yes, I think that was what I was getting at...

  3. Yes, I think that was what I was getting at...

  4. Is that moon a she or a he? I wonder whether that stingray knows it - Steve Irwin did - never get too close to a woman with a barb! He got speared through his heart, nature and him, they had a lover's quarrel.

  5. A lovers quarrel alright. But was it female? I thought it amazing how quickly the gags were made up. In Dunedin, the day after he died, I received three text messages with three different jokes. One about the need for sunscreen when diving, to protect yourself from harmful rays etc etc.
    I think the stingray probably does not think about mr or mrs moon and just gets on with the job!

  6. And another thing - I do tip them out of the net, more often than not actually. Tonight we kept one and sent two back to the sea. But my, are they a lovely feed.