For Stephen Oliver
Journeying through the Rimutakas,
a day after New Year's, I'm a passenger
watching closely: the hills.
In my head, a line comes back to me from
you: 'A soap-grey slate could landslip you off
a hair-pin...' Just that. It was here a few years
back I nearly did do that; too young to
know better, taking those left-lane turns
fast. Now, today, the hills are under
mist and this is not the Mangawekas,
but there's a sense of the universal to it all,
the animism of mountains: the landscape
of death. Baxter and Campbell knew it,
just like the trampers, the mountaineers...
I look on down to the valley floor,
and half-imagine a poet might well be doing a Kees
hiding out, pitching his tent below the stars,
losing all self, out here amongst the hills.
By Mark Pirie
QLRS Vol. 3 No. 1 Oct 2003