empty of future, renew the sign: lucent paradox, ineluctable trace ...


some dreams

... are very persistent. One from long ago: I must have been less than ten, we are driving along in the Hillman, in the King Country, somewhere west of Ohakune. My mother is at the wheel and my father, in the front passenger seat, is not happy about this. Us kids are in the back, me and an indeterminate number of my sisters, who total five in all but I don't think we're all there ... anyway. The road leads to one of those enormous, wonderful, terrifying viaducts that span rivers and bush-choked gorges in that dissected hill country west of the mountain. Viaducts made of girdered steel. Hand built, at the beginning of last century. That are not for vehicular traffic but for trains to cross. As we approach the approach, for no apparent reason, the car veers off the road to the right then soars into the vast, eerie space spanned by the viaduct. My father says, in exasperation rather than alarm: Oh, Lauris, I told you ... while I, seriously alarmed, cry out: Everybody, put your hands on the floor! In the belief that putting our hands on the floor will somehow parachute the free-falling car to safety. Much later, the Hillman does settle, unaccountably, on the grey river sand beside the silvery twisted skeins of the Manga nui a te ao, the great river of dawn, where thin green weed grows slinkily on the downside of boulders, streaming in the flow. There is the silence that follows catastrophe and catastrophe averted alike. We have survived. Above, the brown-black steel span of the viaduct still leaps across the chasm the family car could not manage. But we have survived.


Robert said...

for some reason, this made me schnork out loud at a public library puter

thanks Martin :)

Martin Edmond said...

schnork, Robert? is that a gulping sob or a sobbing laugh?