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Annora Gollop
New Zealand

spirits of the forest  Vanya Taule'alo
Annora  Gollop is a writer who rides, living up North near the Hokianga harbour.

The Water Familiar

Here I am packing
my sense of home
into these pages

Next I will
expand it out
from leaf to leaf
to see the intricacies the colours
the interruption of its spaces

I want to see how one part of home
works with another, how they hold hands
and sleep in adjacent rooms cooking
each other’s meals in the busy times

I want to mark that feeling
of release down onto safe ground
and thus the home state of being

And from that I want to know
what it is and how I hold
parts of myself from the ground
in the grounds between staying
and loving and being
Freudian slip
living and being

I want to feather my nest
in a time where money is feathers
and time is what you need
to enjoy the feathers that money buys.

I want to nest into a place
that is settled into the future
unpacking even the innermost bags
and placing treasures on wooden shelves
and in niches of native clay

I want the plants to be growing
with roots back through their generations
feathering the windows with
green light, gentle light
curving like leaves around
resting bodies allowing the tide
to pass both rising and falling in the home
without fear of the walls falling.

No more nomads whose best efforts
are tents pitched in danger of flooding,
all sleep still half-awake listening
for the sounds of the river building,
plotting the paths of run-off …

It is the knowledge of foundations
that lies under home and here believe that
back in the time for healing
back in the time for building
home was built on unquestioned ground
a place to rise from
structures planned ahead for seasons

Nomads have homes too
in tents and carts and in hearts
making five sided shapes
and exchanges of triangles
whose structural integrities
stretch both back and forward
from any place we find ourselves.

Nomads such as we though
who have lost the track
of our mountain blood
cannot build a caravan
able to hold itself together
over distance
feeling too much the movement of the land
and attempting to love it at each halt
driven to move again
when the land tastes strange

This is not a true nomad but a limping traveller
forced into the semblance
without the burn to move
that keeps the fire hot and dry
in the caravan heart.

This is in the attempts
to carry casks of earth
to act as if I care not to build
these I say are casks of air…

And yet needing earth as I do –
stopping I fear to sink beneath the land
I would rather a ridge bone
and beside the openness
of the sea which might connect me
all the way back to where I started
ranging as it does up and down
the edge of the ocean is all one place
spread out through time …

It is the knowledge of foreignness
carried close with me
that briefs each halt
growing unrest around my thrown up stakes
bringing the heat of movement
into what others might call
a reasonable beginning.
I tell myself in the early hours of my unrest that –
not being within this space –
they don’t see the gaps visible
from the inside looking out.

There are many people
and complications that form history
so without a history of ownership
how to find a clear space to build home?
Surely the need is to ignore some jabs
and whispered comments
with an eye to a future
where the crowd moves a little
to make space and even later
maybe after months or in some coming season
there are connections?

Plant now and wait, soil
must settle as much around
grown roots as growing
it is natural to freeze a little
before doing more than drink and stretch
to learn the taste of new earth

Do I look for a land, an earthy flavour
which tastes, from that first surround
of dirt and water, familiar?

that is my confusion
and here my exploration has diverged
through all the places of not home
Such a great landscape
tracked through,
between the homes of others

Gypsies are driven on
and when I arrive I cannot stop my lips
from saying Gypsy! Gypsy!

Perhaps it is my mystical approach
that keeps home a mirage
moving ahead disappearing
in all times of thirst

floating against the landscape
misallocated on every map
being made of hope
and not history.

What is this water familiar?

the water familiar
knows the blood
joins it
is the blood in other seasons

All the passages of recollection
carried forward
in fragment memory.

The search is for the place
where these parts move together
condense knowledge
from this vapour

That which is vapour
moves indistinct
its dispersal sensitive to changes
the barometer will fall
suddenly liquid
and landing
give to land
this water familiar.

Back home, back home
quickly invent the place
in simple lines from Dr Suess
and move right in.

Home must be, even newly made
something familiar.
What others find from generations
here is cut from whole cloth of hope
and laid gentle across the landscape

Pack it up and move it?
Once more perhaps
but after that clay will make the cloth
solid, bones for building
like hope, permanence too long delayed
is only grieving.

Even if what’s built is flatboat or wagon
then at least it makes some home for the heart
which in recent times has seemed uneasy

Home then – to make home
so much home that it is still home
even to leave
because it is in the coming home
to home familiar
that makes home home.
Home that lives without me
waits for me calls to me
placing anchors into the future
setting the ship steady to sail home.

Who should live there?

Plants, dogs a mortgage
a sense that this place
should not be real estate
but instead estate in the real time of family
that makes neighbours neighbourhoods
and brings from the travelling caravans
visitors seeking company
to the waiting hearth

Who should live here?

Why what we, in our friend-full years
come to call family
in all its warmer permutations
A place bustled with comings and goings
yet sleepy in winter
and in the long quiet days of autumn
when all else have gone about their business
I may sit for days and watch the waning.

Home then – this is home

Prayers these days
are signs of desperation
so I pray, please this home
clear as a dream in day
should be already
will lie across my path waiting
that events which have so spun me
should halt me gently
so that I am confused
it is so familiar

find me
to find me

I have let myself want this
with a strength that could break me
wanting in a way
I once thought was my only –
but now it has been so long
that it arrives foreign.

Who have I been this meantime?
How quietly, nervously, have I greeted joy?

Home then home
a different light lights us
soft green, curling around like leaves
and all is as familiar strange
as is the water