This is the trailer with all my worldly goods that we drove from Purua to Kapiti this week. It is now unloaded into my new room. I am sneaking in little bits of unpacking around the deadlines I have to meet in the next few days... and I have just hung an Indian cotton bedspread on the walls, which are rough planks the colour of manuka honey but stained and studded with nails and staples. The cloth is printed with a Persian-style tree of life, floral and paisley in maroons and mossy greens and blues. Suddenly, the 70's hippy look of this room reminds me of one I saw a long time ago, which made such an impression on me that years later I wrote a poem about it:
I have mostly clung steady to these islands
The Romance of Dust
Minding generations of pot plants and books
While everyone else wanders the world.
When I was seventeen-
my new best friend was a gypsy
and I was still sure that interesting lives
could only be lived on or near continents.
But as we rapidly prepared to escape
I glimpsed her long-absent flatmate’s room:
It was a bazaar of hippy exotica
the four poster bed draped with saris
little glass cubes of patchouli on an old duchess
intricate incense holders and loops of beads
All covered in a thick dust which,
gilded by sunset through batik curtains
Since then, a continental excursion
confirmed that you take your life
along when you leave.
Boredom and loneliness can hitchhike
anywhere if you let them.
And so I have been content to stay
and cultivate the mysteries of home
and the romance of dust.