Monday, 8 July 2019

Digging Foulden Maar

Today we went to the Dunedin Public Library to see a poetry and art display about Foulden Maar which has been in the news recently. The poetry is from a local writing group and we thought we would check out their work and use it and the concerns over Faulden Maar as the inspiration for our own creative writing. Here is a selection of the poems written in response.


The pillagers say,
"We'll take some of that."
And pockmark the land
From it, oozing like pus
The stench of their greed
Dour and rank and slopping against the senses
Leaching into the soil, like blood spoiled.

The pillagers say,
"It is not enough."
So more they take away
the speckles coalesce, and suddenly!
The mess is everywhere
Beyond imagination
This disgracing
Plain in view for all to see.

The pillagers say,
"We will leave some behind."
A sliver no wider than the edge of my nail
As if that will bleach out their sin
But within
The stain never leaves.

The voiceless, entrenched for thousands of years, say,
"                                          "
And roll over, treated no more than livestock
But more than a collection of bedrock
No words to say
For the pillagers have stolen them all.

- E. T.


Destroying the land of lakes and trees
are like destroying The Nature of Life
Seeing bones and fossils of creatures from the lake
laying on the ground all rotten and dull
Show people that what people did to lakes were no good
Like they had no sense or care of keeping lakes and lands so beautiful
When you see dead flowers and trees scattered on the ground
makes people wonder what did they care for in life
Cause seeing a photo or painting of a destroyed piece of land and sea from a long time ago
Shows us that some people cared more about destroying Nature and Life
Than caring for the world and people coming afterwards

- Julia Godfrey


One cool and wriggling life,  fins alive, flex to drive
brown and blue in habitat tones of earth and water
mouth and gills gulp & flap and gulp & flap - air to live by
food for gulls and eels, each chasing smaller fry
washed down from streams between forest banks
into fine fresh water home.

Aeons below ancestors rest
laid down, still, as each age departs
soothed by fine silt, coatings of a volcanic past
in the life-lacking oxygen-free depths
Weight of millenia pressing down
life like a flower between the pages of a book
is compressed, encased, ordered

This cool and wriggling life
lies with its neighbours, whanui, contemporaries
a jot on the page of its history
extinct, or unfound in the catalogue of modern life

- Kate Jenkins


In Middlemarch, we find a place called Foulden Marr,
size of a cylinder a km long.
Volcanoes erupted and made this place 23 million years ago.

Over time layers of ash fell and water soaked through trapping
fossils, leaves, fish, insects, fungi seeds, flowers, beetles,
berries and maybe other things.

People wanted to mine this area to make pig feed
from the diatom silt.
Why should we leave this place decimated?
23 million years to make and a few days to destroy.

We said No! leave this area alone.
There are still treasures unseen.

- Gail Palmer


Landscape is barren with rocks of schist, tussock grass
dust roads, mountains, blue sky in the background,
peaceful and ancient Foulden Maar.

Fossils trapped there for millions of years preserved.
Miners want to mine it for pig feed.
Sure it would make jobs,
but it would also destroy the Maar and the landscape.

Got taken to court,
the people who opposed the bill won.
Foulden Maar, free for generations to come.

- Gail Palmer


Archive of the past
Leaning into the future
Past lives catalogued
Within frail shapes

Fishing for a reaction
The reactionaries wish to make you food of swine
Cast your treasures into a pig sty
Memories crushed between the teeth of a pig

These beautiful shapes
Like butterflies of the earth
They tell their stories poignantly
Reminding us that we are dust.

- M.F.


Folded like paper
The origami of history
Written on these pages
Are the signatures of evolution’s struggles
Species long gone
Pressed into the earth
A fight for survival
That extends before and behind us
History in rock

A lesson to be learned

- M.F.

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