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On the kind of day called ‘weather breeder’
storm-clouds –Maori warriors
creep towards our kauri homestead.
Spring Summer Autumn hurry,
diplomats given a deadline to leave
the country. We shiver, forgetting
every snowflake’s crenate edge catches
the starlight that guided pioneers.

He has gone in for intensive subdivision. This gets rid of the rubbish, cleans up the country and starts filling in the bare ground with pasture which is largely clover-dominant.

The weathervane wavers—‘like gossamer’
I was going to say. Another untruth.
I turn away from the window that limits
the view it gives to me. Kindling the fire
your portrait hangs over, I realise
we are still familiars: interchangeable
to the Registrar of Births and Deaths.
There is no change in the weather.


Roots bind clods, constructing
an imperfect fairy-ring.

It has been estimated that between 80 and 95 percent of the inorganic nutrients ingested by animals in their feed are excreted in their dung and urine.

The ovary of the blown
foxglove floriates snow.

Thus, since the nutrient content of animal manure is derived from that of the ingested herbage, it is not surprising that manure contains all the nutrients needed by plants.

I curl over my gate, scrape
slush from my gum-boots.


He moves large mobs of ewes (up to 10,000 on as little as 12 hectares)

Exploring boundaries
highlighted by candled poplars
we warmed to each other,
thought of former flames,
windfalls. Your hand
dropped from mine, a leaf
idling through evening….

controlling them with five-wire electric fences and passing them through six metre wide gateways


Ewe lambs get fatter at a quicker rate than ram lambs. That is,

Outside St Stephen’s dunged gum-boots stand at
attention. The blackbird inspects them.
Mourners taste the spirit of an anorexic girl
starved for the flavour of saintliness.

early maturing lambs have a smaller mature body size, they have a slower growth rate and are fatter

‘Take, eat; this is my body’
reads the priest. Parables gather
around a mouth that’s categorical
yet gentle. You are

at the same carcass weight when compared with the later maturing type of lambs.


Blackbirds harvest grasshoppers –
the songs of both linger
like prospective buyers’ comments.
The house is unappreciative.
My only property is wanting.
                            The letterbox’s viscera,
overdue accounts are opened
by silverfish. ‘Gone, no forwarding address.’
The westerly gusted your ashes to God

It is unlikely that an instrument will be invented that will totally replace the skilled judge, drafter or breeder of meat animals.


the sky amplifies         an eloquence it renders
         superfluous my echo         collapses a cairn
         erected to the memory of         god knows who
my breath is         disembodied yet it is
         the marrowless bone I bear         over this earth
         where utterance repercusses         into nothing

6.11.1984, Clifton Terrace, Wellington - February 1985, Waironga Road, North Taieri.
‘On the kind of day…’ Robert Frost, An Encounter l.1. Italicised passages are verbatim extracts from the New Zealand Journal of Agriculture’, Vol.149, 1984


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