‘Karitane, New Year’s Day’

An ancient fugue echoes
echoes from the beach near
the steep hill at Waikouaiti
across the bay towards

Karitane as another receding
tide near Old Head Street
exposes a feast of fresh
clams. Red-billed gulls and

caspian terns in saturnalia,
but still they squabble and
dash in bursts, their lowered
necks across drying sand.

An old man with
a bright blue t-shirt and
a bright yellow life-jacket, who
gently paddles an undersized

purple sea kayak. A
dog looks on. I guess
you could say that it’s
unimpressed. And a dozen

or so kids drop
baited lines from the pier
now also looking remarkably hopeful,
though less than was

true an hour ago.
And as the wind picks
up, a woman with calves
like boab trees waddles

past with a fluffy
dog far too energetic for
such a place, and the
water’s surface begins to

break. It is afternoon
after all – the time for
tide’s turning and a welcomed
coolness from the stinging

Otago sun. The auditory
and the gustatory notes creep
towards the repeat bar.

© Jason Goroncy
1 January 2012


  1. Lots of great internal rhymes, Jason. The sort of poem that needs repeated readings to get to hear all the sounds going on in it. Love the unimpressed dog!


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