Saturday, March 12, 2011

For Futuna

There's a great piece in today's Dominion Post about Futuna Chapel in Karori. Click on the link for a slideshow of the fantastic building.

Back in 2006 I wrote a poem about the chapel which was exhibited at the Museum of City and Sea here in Wellington to coincide with an exhibition which picked out a significant event from each of the past 100 years. Futuna Chapel was it for 1961.

Here's my poem:

Futuna Chapel 
From Friend Street I see the
roof like a paper dart
nosediving to the carpet. 
The chapel is smaller than imagined:
you could walk around it in thirty seconds,
except someone’s fence is
eating the northern corner—
claiming their piece of Futuna
with ceramic lizards. 
This is now Futuna Close:
a chapel enclosed by stubborn
suburban bricks,
as deaf to earthquake warnings
as they are blind to beauty. 
But beside the boarded door
a broken pane of pearl glass
reveals a red-stained pane behind—
the sun from a child’s hand. 
This mothballed cobwebbed
moss-walled genuflection,
asking the right questions of our culture
and getting the wrong answers. 
I want to get inside
the red-throb of the chapel
but Art Potter won’t answer his phone.
I can only trample plants and peer in windows
catching a glimpse of mosaics
as the scent of sage rises.


There are celebrations for Futuna's 50th anniversary next weekend. Check out if you're interested.  I might see you there!

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