Sunday, August 06, 2006


Crossing Cook Strait
going home to be
ordained in the

parish of his father,
while seas wished
by and the wind

had its say in the
wires, it came to
him there was no

God. Not that
God was sulking or had
turned His back—that

had happened often.
It was that God
wasn’t there, was

nowhere, a Word
without reference or
object. Who was

God? He was the
Lord. What Lord was
that? The Lord God. Back

and forth it went while
stern lifted, screw
shuddered, stars glowed

and faded. The
universe was losing
weight. It was

then he threw his
Bible into the
sea. He was a

poet and would
write his own. Happiness
was nothing

but not being
sad. It was your
self in this one and

only moment
without grief or
remorse, without God

or a future—sea,
sky, the decks
rolling underfoot.

C.K. Stead

Artist/Colin McCahon


Blogger herhimnbryn said...

A, Oh!
Arresting images, both the painting and the images in my head after reading this poem.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Sigrid Jardin said...

Wonderful poem - I especially like the line "the universe was losing weight" to describe the loss of one's faith....

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Jacq said...

ah, how beautiful. the art of throwing away.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous pohanginapete said...

I hadn't come across this poem; thanks A. Although I haven't read a lot of Karl Stead's poems, this struck me as one of his best. While I'd challenge the claim that "Happiness was nothing but not being sad" (acknowledging that this is the protagonist's claim and not necessarily Stead's), the conclusion is almost as good as it gets.

3:46 PM  

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