‘July, Carey’s Bay’, by Brian Turner

(visiting Cilla)

A storm was forecast but had not arrived
by the time I had to leave. You said, surprised,
What a beautiful night. You said it twice
as we stood on your verandah and listened

to the sou’wester gusting in the trees,
watched it burring the silver waters
of the harbour all the way from Carey’s Bay
to Taiaroa and reaches beyond my comprehension;

the light on the sea sounding (if one can
light) like cow bells tinkling
across a white field. In the oil-stained bay
yachts swung on their moorings, straining,

and I hoping to be home
before the first wild shower of rain.

– from Listening to the River (Dunedin: McIndoe, 1983).


  1. The Cilla for whom this poem is written I suggest is Cilla McQueen, our current poet laureate. It must be an early Turner poem as Cilla was married to painter Ralph Hotere some years ago (70s) and they lived at Port Chalmers overlooking Carey’s Bay. A very small PS: Cilla and I went to the same school together from 1960-65 and her mother taught me French.


  2. @ Janet. I did wonder that too. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I had the priviledge of spending a few wonderful days with Cilla last year on St Martin’s Island. As for your ‘very small ps’: I recall you mentioning the former, but the latter is new news to me. Cilla’s mum, it seems, did a very good job.


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