I love Hone Tuwhare’s poem ‘The Old Place’

no one comes

No one comes
by way of the doughy track
through straggly tea tree bush
and gorse, past the hidden spring
and bitter cress.

Under the chill moon’s light
no one cares to look upon
the drunken fence-posts
and the gate white with moss.

No one except the wind
saw the old place
make her final curtsy
to the sky and earth:

and in no protesting sense
did iron and barbed wire

ease to the rust’s invasion
nor twang more tautly
to the wind’s slap and scream.

On the cream-lorry
or morning paper van
no one comes,
for no one will ever leave
the golden city on the fussy train;
and there will be no more waiting
on the hill beside the quiet tree
where the old place falters
because no one comes any more

no one.

Hone Tuwhare is one of New Zealand’s foremost poets.  This early poem of his reminds me of  ‘The Listener’ by Walter De La Mare.  Both evoke a nostalgia for days that are gone, and both use a certain amount of repetition to create a mood.  Behind this poem is the so-called urban drift of our New Zealand population, beginning mainly after the second world war.  Ultimately it is about the losing of a way of life that was slower and held different values.  For Hone’s generation, and for mine, there will always be a sense of loss.  The wairua of Hone’s Maori heritage, and his feeling for place come through strongly.