Posted in Before the Rain


Mr James,
sounds like a character from a PG Wodehouse novel –
Public School,
foreign service.
He was – all of the above,
finished university just in time for war,
then to Africa.
The winds of change blew to New Zealand.

He’d been the boss,
before the takeover
and push from grace.
Lost everything,
even the original computer only he could tame –
moved to the new admin block,
where it was never used ….  and he never went.

The sign on his door still said Superintendent ….
it had been left –
everybody knew Superintendent to be lower than Director.
He introduced himself –
the air of a grandfather, wondering
exactly how many this new one made?

I wasn’t quite sure what he did.
His days were spent in his office with files
apparently some project for head office.
Full-time and part-time
arriving 8:30 am departing at 4 pm –
indifference seemed not to mind.

Keys. I was never given any.
assuming after, when on permanent staff –
fair enough.
Eager to please … I was often early –
most mornings the building already unlocked.
If not, arrivals would,
chirping greetings and opinions on the weather.

It was a surprise to see Mr James so early.
“Hello,” he said unlocking the door,
“forget your key…?.
why….? ” .… Then realized I didn’t know.
He took me to the hiding place, and the spare key.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.