Sunday, October 30, 2005

Worldly goods at home

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:

The Romance of Dust

I have mostly clung steady to these islands

Minding generations of pot plants and books

While everyone else wanders the world.

When I was seventeen-

my-favourite-number-years old,

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 Hamilton

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

looked like

sunflower pollen

teddybear plush

my best velvet ribbon

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.

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