Lazarus and Martha at Tikipunga Falls
Besides the plunge pool below the falls
A woman sits, weeping.
In a scintillating beam of light,
Rests a fat keruru crooning,
White breasted and viridian collared,
Through mossy grief-stricken gloom.
On the branches of the jumping tree
A queue of skinny children take the plunge
Into the river by some crossing stones
And a new galvanised bridge.
Just below, on the viewing platform,
Stands a tourist group.
In the cool darkness, late arriving,
One sings out a single name,
Commands the dead to leave the darkness
From deep jointed basalt columns.
Beneath the falls, out of the gloom
Steps the twice born in rainbowing air.
© Martin Porter 2012
Placing historical or religious events into a contemporary natural setting is a long established artistic tradition. Here I have placed a scene from the New Testament into a nearby tourist “beauty” spot.
The aim of the poem is to extend the range of a nature poem into the allegorical, but also to challenge the reader. The format chosen is to place the unexpected tension between the expected allegorical context; essentially, bracketing it.
The first and third stanza narrate the story. Incorporating the children and tourist party into the poem creates the modern tension, asking questions about powers of observation, empathy and commerce.