Friday, 10 April 2009

Poetry Month

This month is Poetry Month, so I thought I'd reprint (with Anna Davin's permission) a poem by her mother, Winifred Davin (nee Gonley), who was born in Otautau in 1909, the daughter of Irish immigrants. After her university education, Winifred went to live in Oxford, England and married Dan Davin, the son of Irish immigrants in Invercargill. But on a trip back to New Zealand in 1949, she wrote this poem. Clearly her roots were still in Otautau -- or at least the Southern Hemisphere!
Homing Charm

The Milky Way
The Coal Sack
The Southern Cross.

In my mother's room the fire glows,
In the dark we prime the pump,
My father sings a sailor's song.

The Milky Way
The Coal Sack
The Southern Cross

Enclose the world.
The sky becomes itself again
In love and fear and faith again.

The Milky Way
The Coal Sack
The Southern Cross

Roof my lost world.

The Plough to which I set my hand
Is far away and long ago.

Venus and Pleiades guide me,
Guide me from my lost world,
Homing to the stern pole star.

--- W. K. Davin
Source: Flight to the Centre by Anna Davin.

Winifred, herself, became an immigrant to Great Britain. Her poem reflects that where we are born imprints itself on us in very deep ways. Being an immigrant myself, I love the line 'the plough to which I set my hand is far away and long ago.'

Thanks to Anna Davin for permission to reprint this treasure of a poem.

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