Peter Pan and the Sword of Damocles
Updated: Nov 10, 2022
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.