Drift, drift, upon the beach
Dead Man's Bay and Dead Man's Reach
Driftwood dunks and driftwood rides
Inert upon the endless tides
Debris down the river drifting
Debris of the ocean's sifting
Sullen log, the sodden boot
Tangled in the mangrove root
Upturned boat and empty tin
Drifting out and drifting in
One storm took them one storm more
May drive them to the indifferent shore
Castaways of wind and weather
Drifting aimlessly together

Denis Glover


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This poem, together with Curnow's on the skeleton of the great moa, captures for me some of the sterility and rootlessness of my early years. Nominally Christian, I found nothing in conventional belief that addressed this. Nor had my university degree helped in this respect, or my OE.

As a rep hockey goalkeeper for Rodney, one magic day at Port Albert, I played against the Indian national team who some six weeks later would win an Olympic gold medal. We held them to 3 - 1, and in doing so I reached, I think for the first time, a source of inner strength and self I had not known before.

In the seventies, the music of the American South, in particular, Texas outlaw country and southern rock, attracted me with its strong sense of geography and of community, but I found few who knew what I was on about.

In my house in Drury, I expressed at least some of my sense of self, but it left very little room for others to live alongside of me, and seven years and two relationships later I left for Centrepoint and began setting down the roots that allowed me ultimately to draw nourishment and a sense of greater community from deep within.