He takes his place on the metal-legged chair
back to the fire, face to the still-sleeping
mountains. Dawn and a weeping wall of windows* blur
the outlines of silence and speech, a naked
silver gum. I wonder - are years of unyielding
weather or the passing glissandi of solemnity
and mirth accountable for truth
in an older man's bones?
Moved by snow, a rising squall, the magician
shifts in his chair; with a click
of his fingers, he ushers harbour, sky and volcanic hills
in. Trickster! Ah, but window cleaner, too; he rubs sleep
from our eyes, tenderly mops the brow
of the staunch old school room, shows us how
a soggy tea-towel authoritatively wielded can be
more useful by far than top-hat, incense or wand; with a flick
of his wrist - thwick, thwick - he renders the horizon free
of streaks, the gum tree light, no longer leaning in
or out of focus; of subtler consequence now the hidden veins
of dark, the unnamed worlds beyond the glass.
Banks Peninsula - June 2009
*In NZ, the term 'weeping windows' (or 'crying windows') refers to a situation in which excessive condensation trapped inside a building results in water running down the panes of glass thereby obscuring the occupants' vision.