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Devonport

 

For one hour only, I found a friend
who might have been a sister
so close she seemed;
sipping coffee in a tourist shop
comfortably slipping in and out
of childhood memories,
sharing by some strange chance
the same small town half a world away
and almost the same childhood days,
each bringing back the images and sounds
of happy times along a summer shore
so many years ago.

But you were more alone than I,
your husband gone, your lives unwound,
and bitter anguish in your sigh.
When long silences replaced the chat,
froze your smile, your eye in distant stare,
I slipped away into the streets
of the old colonial town,
walked the wooden walkways round
strolled palm-fronded promenades,
and stood at last on the silver shore
watching the day grow sad and dim.

So many miles between the lazy waves,
so many waves between your life and mine:
but I return to take my lover’s hand
having not the damage of a broken vow,
step once more into the ferry’s care
and only find in my own distant stare
Auckland waterfront growing on the bow.

 

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