Fibre-Optics, My Dear

they clung together in bolsters

like oblique trajectories


as finely woven splinters,

creeping – slighted


bound, mingling with damp,

atop algae covered stone


gloriously sated, in silent hues

of ochre tincture


now burnished bold

with fine alluvial dust


came quietly sweeping,

with haste – upstream


where crepuscular nocturnes

of liquid – churning


danced exquisite – alongside

the course battered flax


sun-dried, then parched

beneath intrepid blaze of sun


though only to return

under deep cloak of night


to lay inert upon humus

in dank, drizzled shards


near a barren mound

upon a dark chiselled plain



©Orion Foote 2016


Rattle, Roll

The train’s call is a thin pre-dawn bellow.

It slides up a riverbed slick with rain and secret in mist.

There is the urgency of momentum – thrum of diesel ever more strident as a rise steals the power.

No passengers, just a driver in a room of iron, eyes following a yellow beam.

It is a parade of bent trees, sheds in shadow – ever on, ever on – liquids and grains in long grey tombs.

South today.

Not that you would know if it were going or returning: it is just a lump of sound caught between the lines,

pressing past shadowy roads, fields floating in snaking mist, figures at windows – alone, together, moving.

The rattle,  the precision, a driver, eyes fixed on nothing.

A low cantankerous moan in the night



from: Love The Word Feeling Actual

. . . . . . . . .
History: is guessing
what was left out
who knew the secrets
and who had the clout.

History: is running
back to where you came
why prophets and profits
sound alike.

History: is written
words sealed to their shape
but you know by looking
where the words are not

there’s a whole lot
of Nothing keeps 
History in place.

. . . . . . . . .

History: is weaning breasts
in loose singlets; the adult nipples
of the brunette

as she undoes the buttons
on the blond,
fingering her friends

pyjama strings, elbows
to palm, they arch
against the wall
papered with the drooping
legs of egrets.

. . . . . . . . .

Your name— is a protected seed.
This poem: is a fertile thought
recognised in Time— it is not
the aloneness of the mountain
-hiding poet’s Cosmological
study of the treehouse:

Einstein’s failure to understand
the importance of Lensing,
may, once again, indicate
a hidden hand among the times

A man can be spelt away;
women spelt the same.
Bodies in flame evaporate
being, waves in fluid Time

from a human birth, a mother
from her dark into the light
the conundrum of ‘the other’
consciousness which cannot
know itself without another
of something which it’s not

. . . . . . . . .

Songbird Why You’ll Never Sing

Part 1

I sent you a letter last night in my dream
Deemed to never arrive
Captured by hook of my bed post
A moonlit message of hope
Heaven in a wild flower
Fragrance rare
The ink on the parchment
Scatter a tale of love and hope
Empty in such a confined space

You are the rose made of the finest spyder silk
And golden milk of Queens unrepentant
Desired by wealthy merchants and alchemists
Queen of your own kingdom
Enchanted by the songbirds of early dawn
Honey dew grass moist with freshness and morning dew
You’re the guard of your hidden daughters
Outspoken from the corners of daybreak
You radiate a pleasant denial
The light of a new day
Captures the hearts of all you string along
You are from a star constellation born of the sun
Rise emporess wife to no king
You are what darkness forgets us
Quilted memories a trail you left
Your eyes the most sacred we ever came across
Our hearts as a bird beats its wings
Feathered to never meet
Denial in self gloat
Get over yourself stop milking the goat.

Part 2

You wouldn’t care
Instead I slip away unnoticed

Everywhere comes unrequited lovers
I become another poet of empty words

When silence rushes in unequal
Leaning on a chair I say nothing
The waters in my well turn to blood

I was out of time out of touch
Different sphere all mine
Technically its something we have to believe in
Every once awhile I dream about her smile
There was something pleasant about that place
Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder,
This is a start of a journey.

3rd sonnet

The eternal lines live still, but the boy,

where does he dwell, the young man with a face

more fair than any girl, and with more grace

than a princess royal, endowed for her joy?


His eyes like the blue rounded heavens shone

for some one unbounded love, but not you;

and you loved him all the same, though you knew

that his charm would fade, and one day be gone.


And what is he now, this man: an idea

in the mind. But a shade can never die,

and beautiful remains, as long as I’m here

to feel it. One day with him I too will lie.

But the idea will live though we all die,

and the firmament itself disappear.


9 April 2016

Keeping in Touch

i got your message

this morning –

it rattled these eyelids

in a bird song hour,

and needless to say,

the weather’s picked up

in such timely fashion –

taken a turn for the better


well I’m sure you’d agree,

the old boards could do

with running repairs –

a new coat of paint (a lick or two)

and when was the last time

we lifted the roof –

had one too many,

sunk a few ?


some nights i rant

or curse at the moon

chat with the dead –

though can’t quite seem

to give up the ghost son

but for what it’s  worth

i’m  glad you called,

rang a few bells

in a bird song hour

this morning


Orion Foote, 2015



The homeless, we will term them,
jackal vultures, circle the nest
of notes and coins.

Their dissuading odour
and unmatched taste
off-put potential tippers.

If I chuck at them a few
coins they bug me even more.

One time, when I complained
I said to myself they’ve only begging
or burglary or buskers.

These junkies, poppers,
Summer’s limit sprung,
there’ll be nothing in autumn
having not planted a thing.

They come onto
my open self reliance
but do not close in
and I am expected to share

this bounty, fruit, grief—
the poem is becoming
an Aesop tale, I can pay
them for the inspiration.

They sneak in disguised
as mortal need.
Contact is better steered
to qualified rehabilitation

personal, though. See,
they are comical, I added,
flicking each a gold coin,

see how they walk, they roll, uneven
un-still, a mess in confusion;

and see how visible they live:
Perfection has not missed,

partnered accurately to the contribution
and, they do not hide from us

their hurt, chaotic patterns.
Yeah, are you desperate,

greedy pluckers, who wasted
all that moolah on tattoos,

I thought to myself.



Cuba Mall, Wellington

casual lines

Where do they go, eternal lines?

They stop the mind a mere minute


before they fly, unadorned by wings,

and fall like flakes of dead skin,


destined for nothingness, but this

here/now. How to tell it?


I’m here because…but it’s all

so horrible, an accident! I can’t


live it indefinite, do it. Even

to be is to be nothing


but what I am – in effect

what you make of me.


April 2016

All Jokes Aside, Hemi



te reo true



the heron flew


the bearded bard

spoke prayer or hymn

and onward to Jerusalem

some made the trek

five to a car

incense, myrrh – kissed his arse

hung from his word

such reverence

a reading by his eminence

the sad waiata

the long lament

leave poor old Jim to rest my friend




te reo true

let truth

be told

from me to you


©Orion Foote, 2016


Te Werahi Beach & the promised land

           *Te Werahi Beach & the promised land

from the drenched shadow of the morning cliff
looking west it lay out on the running ocean
Cape Maria van Diemen,
a name scratched down once of a time
by restless europeans on parchment,
a promised land of the dawn
mapped in early gold
sand hills forged as
simple as cloud along
the still pink rim of sky west
or a rock on the inward rush
of a wave the beach wide
hid a city on the other side
of old things,
missing friends, lost stories, altars
laden with fruits and burning meats,
old sailors of the pacific
and further seas in the tavern
dead drunk in their mermaids’ clasp.
streets that drop away like winds
in the folds of a mainsail
a city that cannot last the sun falling
from higher than the tip
of the ridge, a whole city
gone like dew in the curl of the
marram grass whipped back
and forth on the sand
the ocean riding on in
foaming across the hardened
sand, bubbles and sunken
sky in tow.
a promised land of quiet prayers that
turn across the sky a flock of birds
of terns painted like wave tips
a land of plenty, time stopping
when your thought does,
your brush, your pen dipped
in the cupped well of your silence
earned in the dripping together
of hours
a promised land
that is promised only in the little
time before the sun moves
on those sands, those hills,
and the wind overturns
it all in bare unshadowed
gone like a feather
off the back of your hand
the door
to the
open in
the day.

beijing february 2011

A poem for me is a collision of coincidences between language and memory, language and feeling. I have noted below some of the associations which this piece has for me that came to light in its writing and afterwards. I would not normally do so for any piece I’ve written, but for whatever reason, felt prompted to do so in this case.

restless europeans
reference to the following talk between C. Jung and a Hopi indian elder: At the Taos pueblo, Jung spoke for the first time with a non-white, a Hopi elder named Antonio Mirabal (also known as Ochwiay Biano and Mountain Lake), who said that whites were always uneasy and restless: “We do not understand them. We think that they are mad” (‘Memories, Dreams and Reflections’, Jung, 1973, p. 248). Jung asked him why he thought the whites were mad, and the reply was ” ‘They say that they think with their heads . . . . We think here,’ he said, indicating his heart” (p. 248).

a promised land
I was reminded by the beautiful profile of the sand hills of William Blake’s poem ‘Jerusalem’, a wonderful chariot of English words, sturdy and unbroken after 300 years

early gold
early in the morning, and a memory of gold just valued for its beauty, rather than monetary value

hid a city on the other side
couldn’t see the other side of the sand hills, but precisely for this reason I imagined a whole mystical city there, like Blake’s Jerusalem’ – not really existing anywhere

old sailors of the pacific
and further seas
all those sailors whether polynesian, european, asian or whoever else, who made it everywhere over the waters by star and sextant

streets that
drop away like winds
in the folds of a mainsail
streets of white houses in the cycladic isles, that drop off steeply down hillsides, like wind spilling out of a white mainsail I’ve always thought

gone like dew in the curl of the
marram grass
all a dream, some obscure reference in my mind to the Japanese story translated by Lafcadio Hearn (early scholar on Japanese culture/literature) about someone dreaming beside an ant nest and becoming a king in his dream, waking and realizing everything in his dream was in fact just a reflection of the ant nest (king, soldiers, castle etc)

the door
to the
dead open in
the day.
of course death is open any time for business, but somehow the image of the arch over the entrance to Agamemnon’s tomb (referred to as Agamemnon’s tomb but apparently an unknown king’s) that I saw at Mycenae some 30 years ago came to mind after thinking about this poem for a month or so, and also that I was at Te Reinga where the Maori dead depart Aotearoa to return to Hawaiki.

Cape Maria Van Diemen

from Brightcity Storyline #2


You may concern your Sunday
morning with the elves, history
is filled with virgins longing
to be lawyers, or veterinarians,
but who got pregnant before the exams
and were made to leave home
on an ass, when this was still a shame,
in the days before Dependent Parent benefits,
on a sunny Wednesday in Rome,
or Vanuatu, from a small entropic town,
at the back of the bus, brushing the screen,
brushing the whole thing off
in their headphones, playing the.. ..sounds
like the playbook of the driven to deceive.


I have held them by their jeans
belt, seeing they were adding to
the sorrow in the well Tears evaporate

before they ever reach the end.
I have lingered, in their lingerie,
upmarket in my solitary, found

a superior state freed from the common
accidents reported in Religion’s orphanage—
not exclusively,

but victims
in the poorer suburbs,
treeless zones

for the
bottom to fall out.

I have had a calling, really,
to collect up all my feelings,
and a map be made of all my thoughts,
to predict that reading-eyes expect.
I, and I alone,

climbed out. Or so I thought,
but all around me

others, solo mothers,
from the concuss of their falls,
climbed out and out alone

into The Light
into the logarithmic semblance of
the clouds.

my cat works at night

My cat works at night,

same as me. He’s there

when I leave tho and

home first, asleep

on the chair, or floor,

same spot he occupied

before I left

to go.


I know:

I’ve only his word

that he works but,

if so I think

it must be hard –

some say, a security

guard. I caught

him once


flashing his suit

in the looking

glass: our eyes met

for a split

second. My cat

is reticent. When I think

of it I don’t think

that I trust him


at all. This

morning for instance

I caught him


my drawers,


my coin, and

pondering my card.