Poem: Dear Kåre

Dear Kåre,
I thought of you today
as I wandered Albert Park.
You reminded me there was a poem
in the sparrows as they darted
through the foliage.
Drab and common, but
cute and curious.
They remind me of me.
Today, they reminded me of you.
A constant rustling
accompanied my footsteps as
thrush played in the collection of
autumnal leaves abandoned at
the base of the deciduous trees.
Not the natives though,
they’re vibrant and green,
confident in a temperate climate.
There’s a rimu, drooping like a
weeping willow, but with more
attitude
in its sturdy, spiked leaves.
A man sleeps on the grass, his bag
pillowing his head as the shade
s l o w l y rotates around him.
Further up the path, roots sprawl across
the ground like gnarled fingers,
loops and twists creating pockets
I imagine are perfect for ruru.
The park benches are mostly
full, teenagers from Auckland Uni or
adults on their lunch breaks.
I’m stereotyping,
but I’m a writer,
so they’re just archetypes, right?
A statue commemorating some
long gone fellow provides a perch for
the ubiquitous pigeons. Ivy
clings to a brick wall that has been
standing longer than I’ve been alive
(but maybe not as long as these trees).
I walk beneath an oak which arches
over the path, creating a mottled
mosaic of sunlight and shadow. Some
branches hang low
and thick, inviting me to recall my youth
and attempt a climb. It’s years
since I climbed a tree. You?
The jangle of bells from the Town Hall
tell me it’s time to return to work,
chiming once. Twice.
As I walk toward the Victoria Street
steps where I came in, I pass a man
with his silver hair pulled back
in a ponytail. I watch him watching
the passersby. Maybe he’s a writer too.
And maybe even though you’re far away,
today part of you was in Albert Park.

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