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ROBERT STRATFORD

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The Storm

 

We left camp at Reefton – to the Waitahu –

the single fishable river, still three days after the

rain of logs and boulders had wiped out

the railway bridge at Larry’s – and

run the Coast to mud.

 

No fish in that river, no gold in

your gumboot pan and by 10am it was hot,

hot, even wading out, hot enough to fly

the Buller Gorge next in a slingshot bucket –

screaming over that high brown water

screaming 34 degrees for lunch at Murchison

and you shaking, saying something

had to go ­– it was turning

crazy in the sky.

 

So we took off – past Rotoiti, running

for the evening fish on Tahuna Beach,

the bellowing dark dragon fury smoking

down from the ranges after us, belting out

lightning even as we stood open in the water

yelling at the skies pulling in snapper and

gurnard and shark after shark in the rains

and blood- and bone-breaking thunder.

 

No one heard us laughing and laughing and laughing

heard you daring it to kill us – even as it

gave us up forever out to sea.

 

 

 

For Rohan Lewis, 6 January 2013

 

 

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