old Totara north boatyards2


only the ghosts remain, whispering
where the old boats were built
where the timber was floated
down the Kaeo River to feed the mills

only the ferns and the moreporks
remember the scows, and the river boats
that were shaped here once
before the years turned grey

now the mangroves crowd
above the mud flats and streams
where the channel was cut
to the insatiable mill

the Kauri have gone now
just shadows from the past
sharing their memories with those
who are still, and who listen

proud men and proud ships
that sailed from this yard
over alien seas and out of our time
now, only the ghosts remain.

© Maureen Sudlow

This is dedicated to ‘Te Aroha’ – the last surviving scow