From the Principal

Tena koutou katoa. Nga mihi nui atawhai.

A Joy Cowley poem, December, for the Christmas season.

The machines shudder into silence

The last sheep slide down the chute

and staggers out of the shed,

giddy with sudden weight loss.

The shearers, glossed with sweat,

straighten their backs and nudge open

the lid of the chilly bin. They sit

with hands wrapped around cans,

sweet coldness against cracked fingers,

while outside a tui gargles the heat

and spits it out in two long clear notes.

The shed hand rolls a can across his brow,

and says, ‘It’s beginning to feel like Christmas.’

On the back lawn, near the potato patch,

the woman creaks the revolving line

as she unpegs clothes stiff with sunlight.

The smell of summer is mixed with noise,

pungent cicadas, loud brass marigolds,

and the grass beneath her bare feet

is as warm as cat’s fur. She looks

over her shoulder and reminds herself

to dig some new potatoes for tomorrow,

and she thinks with sudden pleasure,

It’s beginning to feel like Christmas.

The children and dog have been in the pool

but the dog in excitement, bit the plastic

and now the pool is collapsing,

pouring water over hot concrete.

The children run through the flood

making footprints that dry in seconds.

“Happy birthday to you,” they sing.

“Happy birthday, dear Jesus.”

Their grandad at the kitchen window,

remembers his own childhood.

He thinks of all the small footprints,

that have stamped the earth

since that little fellow in the stable,

and he smiles as he dries the dishes.

It sure feels like Christmas.


Wishing you all a very blessed Christmas and a relaxing summer break.