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Heels 1974

For Kelvin

page 30

For Kelvin

The early walk across half light, dew soaked fields,
Sheep, ghosting shadows, the old dead trunks, skyline sculptures,
The cool nose and sweating backs.
We followed your flickering beam together to Penn Creek,
The glittering water, crystal in the sun's dawning rays,
The surprised stag, browsing on the grassy flats,
Penn Creek Hut, nestled in the valley.
A long bush bash up the ridge, through windfalls and lawyer,
Supplejack and ferns, sweat and cursing,
Glimpses of McIntosh, ever above us,
Remember the junction, Kelvin, and up Pakihore Ridge,
Now level with views of the rugged pair of the Tararua Peaks.
Onto the tops and into the drifting mist,
Jokes on the ladder, a drink at Maungahuka,
And the long climb onto the top of Aokaparangi.
Together we watched the mist clear off Isabelle and then on,
It was cold then, Remember Kelvin.
We sat together on the tussock and shared that which is precious
To those who have and know the untold.
Evening on Kahiwaroa, pink skies in the cold evening still,
Together in its darkening golds. The sweet tussock.
The deep grey of the inner bush, Night's hand covers all,
Torch light flickers on lichen trunks,
Old trees have seen more than you ever did,
Their blazed scars led us to the hut,
Again I saw us in the mist at junction top,
The cold stiff lunch in the bushes'shelter,
Dry jokes in the wet bush delight.
Remember, the splash of sodden footfalls in the water-filled hollows,
The suck of perpetual mud on tired feet, the rustle of leaves,
The scraping of branches on stiffened parkas,
The plop of raindrops shaken from passing trees.
Remember the cold, the wet, the discomfort of evening on the plateau,
The sodden walk through the dark to the Forks.
How could you ever forget!