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Photography: Sarah Reed
Jacqueline Crompton Ottaway

Jacqueline Crompton Ottaway enjoys writing poems, stories and
articles. She lives on Auckland's North Shore with her family and seeks
inspiration for her poetry at lunchtimes in the local garden café near the
high school library where she works.

Light glints in the city where lions guard hotel doors
trees are tethered to the setting sun

Are these all volcanoes?
That island out there -
that’s a volcano, too?

Across the water another city looms
he gets lost and found in a seaside town

This place is a city?
- you’re kidding me

In Tokyo there are 60 million people
his backyard is as big as this car

Seems as though everything’s shut -
the penalty of a Monday night

In the distance lights glow
a cafe like the opening page of a novel

He orders a salad entree
deliberates over the main

The prices are so cheap -
the servings must be small.

“Try the ostrich, sir
I can recommend it”

Don’t tell the waitress
but this ostrich is tough

“Sir, you haven’t finished your dinner.
I feel bad. I recommended it to you.
Would you like a coffee on the house?”

Over coffee he asks

What’s aubergine in English?

dream catcher

A young man dreams that he saw
his grandmother last night
she tells him the old stories of Geronimo –
a Shaman of War
his power animal becomes the eagle

a connection between labyrinths

Tuku gives him the greenstone
the warrior writhes, points, utters a curse
at his words the sleeping child stirs
whimpers with pain

ritual chants the release of a bird

Kura knows which berries are safe to eat
she weavestends crops collects firewood
uses flax oil to heal wounds

seeks freedom from taboos

Pythagoras loved all numbers
especially those in the musical ratios
closer spheres give lower tones

road 309

When they leave Auckland
they find themselves captive in a van
but the bach is good, the shower is Zen
so fetch a wheelbarrow
kiss the beach goodbye
and uncover charred and twisted driftwood for the bonfire

Two girls stand on the side of the road
one plays a flute, the other a recorder
their long skirts rustle in the wind

The cutting in the pine trees leads to Castle Rock
a reminder of a real castle in Bavaria
leave the pine trees behind
climb through native bush
listen to the women’s voices
a tapestry of psychic juggling

All day the girls chant ‘om’
then they intersperse the chanting
with a Rosicrucian prayer

At the Waiau Waterworks an invisible man rides a bicycle
in the gardens a clock pendulum keeps time
on Road 309 manuka honey and cottage gardens reign
back at the bach, river stones surround the bonfire
women who run with the wolves discover
WOW! can mean more than an exclamation

The girls spend the night in a derelict caravan
return to Auckland the next day
on the way home they play ‘Sad Lisa’

water kisses the rocks

music fills spaces
between weather boards
plants grow out of walls
the house sings to the land

a swing bridge leads to the monastery
amongst chicken mesh & macrocarpa slabs
shell paths & succulents
Karlos speaks of passion

across the road to Ibiza
cabbage trees karakas
a whitewashed place
rusted water tanks against a cliff face

call upon Tanit the Phoenician goddess
ask to exchange white gold
for salt air
the taste of a twin soul

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