The hills above Oputere have watched,
while countless tides found every crooked
cranny of the estuary,
then flowed back fast to sea,
where waves relentlessly rush the steep
and gnarled pohutukawas sprawl on the sand.
They've watched the legions of Godwits
guard the spit, then catching the wind,
whirl away again,
while oyster catchers on the flats below,
haunt the cliffs with echoing cries.
And now they watch my parents
walking slowly round the shore,
with worn, arthritic limbs,
sore feet, short breath, blocked veins
and vision blurred.
These hills can never know
how much it hurts, when every step
moves further from our past together,
when every parting points,
to the longest goodbye.
It's hard that age should face
the steepest climb,
the winding path to the pass,
please God, ever closer,
to a broad, new, shining vista.
But as we lunch among the resin scented
insects busy in the needles,
tuis stir the air with sudden wings,
sunlight turns the water into crinkled,
and glad life everywhere flows full.