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Eleanor Rose King Merton

sensuous gold miner

i. colonial villa
i don’t know if they were too stupid to take a second and notice that the sun travelled east to west actually
slightly to the north
or if they just felt more at home when they were facing south

but either way
i’m very angry about it

i saw a perfect miniature as i was on my way out the gate
of my landlord’s big south-facing colonial villa

moss and a tiny toetoe with only two plumes
just the thing for a terrarium

my ongoing pattern of homemaking is
how can i force familiarity out of unfamiliar places

so far it involves accumulating things that have belonged to other people
some i know and some i don’t, all in textures

ii. wanaka
before my colonial villa i lived on an alpine prairie, maybe
i don’t know what a prairie is like exactly

but up mt roy for sunrise, crying
at the light, i know that

it has to do with the horizon
draping smudges into the valleys

and i always know where north is
(i’m a flower, like all women)

i just want warmth on my face
and glacial runoff on my back

i think there’s more tension in spring
and tension is a potent

play area
for emergence

the weather can change so quickly
i used to check over the edge of the balcony

looking up the lake to see if there was a storm coming
especially if it had been windy there, from the northwest

but i’m afraid in bursts
because of the airflow, making cold contact

it’s easy to become caught in the middle
of the size of the clouds, their dark grey

the need to check the latches and secure the structures
and the need to keep a point of contact with the earth

be rained down into the ground
filtering through to run along the veins of quartz

iii. pink and white terraces
i was talking to someone about how much i wish i had been alive to see the pink and white terraces
and the next day i fainted on the bus

which is very early 19th C of me
so be careful what you wish for i guess

pressure is hot and dark and red
and very current

but the process of applying pressure makes things last longer
diamond and fossils

burying something keeps it safe
quiet under the earth

the pink terrace had gold in it i heard
which i guess means even if tarawera hadn’t erupted, they would have destroyed the terraces anyway

the human imposition on landscape is always
only ash and a haunting

the same as the landscape’s imposition on humans is also
only ash and a haunting

but a glass of sparkling rosé
or that wine with actual gold foil in it

bathing on the pink terrace
would be so poetic

Eleanor Rose King Merton is an editor and poet living in Wellington. Her work also appears in Mimicry, Sport, Turbine|Kapohau and is forthcoming in Peach Mag.

Eleanor was a part of the LitCrawl x Starling 2018 micro-residency programme, where six young writers were hosted by Wellington galleries over the weekend of 10-11 November to work on a current creative project. Eleanor was in residence at Meanwhile, where she worked on new poems investigating the geological, domestic and autobiographical, as well as engaging with the works in the gallery space. ‘Sensuous Gold Miner’ is an ekphrastic poem taking its title from the exhibition Hut for a Sensuous Gold Miner (2018) by Sophie Bannan and Daegan Wells, which was on display at Meanwhile during Eleanor’s residency.