No Disposals


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Carolyn McCurdie

Our Stories Held in Trust

This is our library: an elaborate loom, weaves
the fluff and tangle, silken shimmer of minds
in the shared gift of words. The stuff of us.

Land is the frame. Our skeins and loops, umbilical cords:
Polynesia, Ayr, Guangdong, Madras, the whole atlas
threaded, so that new startles old, and see, colours shift,
become forest-darkened, sun-lit by tussock;
deep folds billowed and tasselled by weather.

A people made and re-made,
re-journey there, learn our home for returning is here.
Is there a nation on earth where to-and-from
is more warp-and-weft of the story?

We’re sea-smart, moon-washed and shaped by the tides.
So we know tidal lore, that an ebb tide rips the beach bare.
A surge of the new clears out the old, scours more
than was planned. Pull, pull of the undertow.

And too much is lost. Our children left stranded.
They’ll ask: where and why did those memories go?
Why didn’t you tell us: we never were islands.


Carolyn McCurdie is a Dunedin writer of poetry and fiction including a children’s fantasy novel The Unquiet (LongacrePress,2006), a short story collection Albatross (Rosa Mira Books 2014), and a poetry collection, Bones in the Octagon (Mākaro Press, 2015).