Looking at Kapiti

Sleep, Leviathan, shouldering the Asian

Night sombre with fear, kindled by one star

Smouldering through the fog, while the goaded ocean

Recalls the fury of Te Rauparaha.


Massive, remote, familiar, hung with spray,

You seem to guard our coast, sanctuary

To our lost faith, as if against the day

Invisible danger drifts across the sea.


And yet in the growing darkness you lose

Your friendly contours, taking on the shape

Of the destroyer — dread Moby Dick whose

Domain is the mind, uncharted, without hope.


Without hope, I watch the dark envelop

You and like a light on a foundering ship’s

Masthead the star go out, while shoreward gallop

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.


By Alistair Te Ariki Campbell