Streets of the City
for Wellingtonians

John Haxton

Look at her;
Victoria, Queen, Empress.
The southerly wind fails to bend her.

She forever gazes north,
down Kent Terrace
and up Cambridge Terrace,
toward England.

Today she is not amused
with boys in cars who say
‘Race you around that old tart’.

Norway Street is well named.
All day shadows are ideal
for trolls.

Be at the Civic Square before the break of dawn.
Sit on the top step of the City Gallery.
Watch as the sun rises to warm the square.
See it become a Venetian piazza.

Watch the bridge.
You may see Antonio climb it,
looking despondent
after yet another all-night vigil,
waiting for his boat’s return
to restore his fortune.

Will this be the morning
when he meets Shylock
beneath the globe
of silver ferns?

Wakefield Street is an unlikely place
for a romantic assignation but
if Edward Gibbon Wakefield was able to elope
with an heiress,
so might you.

On Lambton Quay
brass plates mark
‘Shoreline 1840’.

Suspend your disbelief,
stand still,
now shut your eyes.

Smell the sea,
hear the lap of waves against a hull,
feel the creak of planks.

The Terrace eschews a first name.
To have no first name is
to rise above the rest.


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