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Poetry Competition Entry 2019: Then and now

August 21, 2019

Then and Now

The gold card arrives in the post

I slip it away behind the credit card

Grit my teeth

The nation owes me a discount

For getting old?

Celebrate with a trip instead

My list includes Days Bay

Katherine Mansfield’s other home

The bay of my childhood holidays

 

I arrive at the ferry office to buy a ticket

Lovely young person asks without pause

“Your gold card?”

And the tickets are free,

Ahh well, the nation is paying its debt

 

There is a raucous gale blowing across the water

I am undeterred.

The ferry guys charge at the waves with gleeful cool

And we bounce across the harbour,

They, proving their manhood,

Me, just proving.

I step off the ferry with some inelegant clinging

And then

 

The pebble and shell beach sparkles

With Mansfield’s subtle prose

And a dancing memory,

Where I am leaning over the wharf

Dangling my coat hook and twine

With crusty, white bread bait

Ever hopeful

But more so delighted

To be on an adventure

Alone

with the sharp smell of the sea*

And memory leaps over the years

To bring exquisite lightness to now.

 

*Katherine Mansfield, At the Bay

 

© Helen Anderson

 

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