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Wild Cattle: Wekaweka

A poem from View from the South.

I met a stranger — eighty-five years old

and some relation.

I’m past it, he said, when questioned on

the clan.

From that hard and bitter childhood he

gave up just one memory.

Wild cattle emerging from the bush

his unlamented father and neighbours

shooting as many as they could.

The beef was home salted, and in the end

the boy abhorred the taste.

No eloquence in his telling, yet power

of incident from a seven-year-old’s

drudgery; the feral beasts, kauri forest

the loud slaughter, and isolated people.

The singularity of it, and a distanced


The farm’s back to bush, no family there


Just wide-eyed cattle in the shadows.


Image © Grahame Sydney, 2018

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