Saturday, January 1, 2011


Elsewhere, that’s the place for disasters;
elsewhere, preferably
north of the equator,
even Australia
is too close for comfort.
Although we knew we lived in a country
susceptible to earthquakes,
they were long ago
and wouldn’t affect our generation.
But 4000 after-shocks later
we are singing a different tune.

It appears our city
is built on a fault line;
a line sounds mathematical
with a beginning and an end.
It would be truer to say
our city is built on
a lattice-work of faults,
with earthquakes popping up
here, there and everywhere.

For the most unfortunate
it is a question of survival
with homes and businesses written off;
the rest of us are distracted
from the eternal questions
by chimneys, insurance
and cracks in the ceiling.

But the eternal questions remain:
each and everyone of us
shares our world
with billions of others,
a world that existed
aeons of time before people,
in a universe so large
it stretches almost to infinity.
And now even the stable earth,
the earth where I thought
to lay my final bones
is writhing and coiling
like a wounded snake.

But incessantly the questions
hammer at us to be answered.
“Who are we?” “What do we count for?”

The universe remains silent.


  1. Unsettled? Unsettling? Shaken??

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  3. It's a wonderful poem, puts me right there, in Christchurch. Why has this beautiful city begun to suffer so mightily?

  4. fellow kiwi MSer........ i like your work!