If this is the end of the world then it’s not too bad –
the wind is fierce but the house stands fast,
now and again a deep giggle running through it.
Fires burn brilliant in the huddled cottages
from which smoke pours and eddies in the gusts.
The sky turns dark and light as if big hands
passed mysteriously over the sun.
People slump by the fireside grumbling at the newspaper
secretly glad to be staying at home eating pikelets.
At this end of the world there is plenty of weather.
We do what we must when it needs to be done,
in our own time, which is of an elastic nature.
from Fire-Penny (Otago University Press, 2005), © Cilla McQueen 2005, used by permission of the author and the publishers. Recording from a private recording: Cilla McQeen reads from Fire-Penny and Soundings (2011)