Michael Hall

Dunedin, Winter Evening
(St Clair Park)

Can be found in the wet gorse
on the side of the hill.
Flowers like street lamps,

alone in this quiet city of a wild latitude.
Vacant sections waiting to be sold
slope down


a muscle of cold mist.
Windows of a green gabled house
dark bedrooms, washhouse.
A lighted lounge.
Two new nearby houses.
But no Dunedin.

Through pines
a distant vagueness of golfers

across the damp silence.

Wherever winter language is
seeking like the trickle of water
empty spaces

down a roadside grate.
Not even the unseen ocean.

Just a comforting white fenced edge.


Rain, Christmas Eve

The evening is a faded green aperture of wet.
Barely a west
across the bare paddocks.

A clear translation of a recently mowed lawn.
The shrubs and trees sodden.
The house blinks.
Out into this cool falling patter
I hear myself leave

step beyond the dripping tangle of birch
where briefly I had waited.

And cross.
God is a grey shed roof
if he is anything.

Or perhaps the low sky itself.
In bare feet.
What I find is a startled casualness

that wished for, hoped for communion.
Dark. Quiet.
Except for the susurration on nearby grass.
The drum of evening fingers on tin.
Cool toes.
A puddle.

To stand in the entrance
and look out

at the rain.
At the blue mower by the batten fence.
At the trailer in the long grass.
And over the paddock
toward the drain

the wet pine,
sturdy, weighted like a mother holding

a baby

through the continued
(to be continued)




Michael Hall lives in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. He makes a trip to sunny Dunedin 3 to 4 times a year to visit his partner’s family. His poems have popped up in a few places, including Landfall, NZ Listener, Poetry NZ and Takahe.