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Updated: Apr 27

A bear has mauled the dove – we say our prayers

as clanking tank tracks crush the city streets.

We give but feel no pain, the war is theirs.


We hear concussion of explosions,

see the hollow stare from skulled apartments.

A bear has mauled the dove – we say our prayers.


We watch families flee with muffled faces,

backpacks stuffed and hugging their stuffed bears.

We give but feel no pain, the war is theirs.


At the border, men of fighting years

turn back to learn arms, bag sand, dig trenches.

A bear has mauled the dove – we say our prayers.


A white-bearded Ukrainian pities

the doomed young Russian conscripts.

We give but feel no pain, the war is theirs.


News bites grip, we scour our screens,

pay more at the pump, but sleep in peace.

A bear has mauled the dove – we say our prayers.

We give but feel no pain, the war is theirs.

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A short gulf flight links

the island whenua which feeds my youth

to an urban burden of care.


In a day, the harvest of twenty years

is shared with the needs of twenty patients

holding parts of broken stories,

hearing unspoken fears,

engaged through senses subjective as weather,

and I offer an uncertain science

distilled with what skill, what wisdom there is,

knowing a thousand grateful patients

cannot avert that one dread complaint.

There are slips, there will always be slips

and the hawk circles and waits.


The gulf is crossed

by a short flight

and the masks are switched.


I always lose my head on the Barrier,

the wild fickle coast enticing me

with exuberant promise.

A life jacket is all the wisdom needed

here, crashing my ocean kayak

out through the waves, the exhilaration

of the ride rising above the memory

of the last dumping.


Climbing the crumbling clay headland,

choosing exposed pōhutukawa roots

over the worn track, savouring small dangers

and habitually revisiting old predicaments,

what do I hope to prove?

A Peter Pan of petty adventure,

I pull a defiant cap over white hair,

but here there must be no slip

to the black rocks that wait below.


A short gulf flight

takes me back once more to the land

of patients, employees and care.

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With both parents lost,

remembered, buried, nothing

stands between being here

and the edge of not being;


the incline to the unfenced cliff,

the pull of the current

to the cataract.


There were warning signs

of course, but in this time-kept world

there is no pause, no rewind,

and where we once saw


the parent interposed

now there is a clear-felled

view into the void.

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