As we set out on the Kaikoura Road
sea-mist softened the scarred hills,
and the boarded up dreams
in the small bays with no name.
The rocks rose, coralline-white
drying forever above the old tide line
where the sea was held back
by the land’s sharp rise.
Boulders in tumbled heaps
at the feet of the slipping cliffs
as our convoy rumbled through
below the twisted metal of old train tracks.
Machines battled to tame the land
high on the netted headlands.
Containers stood in serried ranks,
guardians against the falling rocks.
Impressive, those men and those machines,
but after we passed torrential rain
scoured the land where we had been
and the road was closed again.