Chatting over a lovely glass of Nelson sauvignon an author reminisced about how a fragment of his poem was once incorporated into a painting by a Blenheim artist. My interest was piqued as I’d lived in Blenheim and still had family there who were involved in the art scene. I almost snorted my wine when he mentioned this artist was married to a member of the Top of The South Writers. One too many coincidences – the artist was my father, Walter Scott!
By Geoffrey Waring
On Highway One,
to the next junk McDonalds
and tired motel bed in a dying country town
I wearied of her face
a young land, yet
dressed in baubles
like the old-young whore
I once saw, in a bar
on K Road
A shoddy dress of ryegrass green
hemmed with nine-wire post and batten
and fripperies of pylons, viaducts
tourist shill signs
with glossy lips of corrugated iron
painted on her old-young face
and I feared she was dying
… of progress
Whim led me to a lesser road
that dipped and climbed, a hinterland
of serried ridges not yet ground down
by the heel of time
that led to a forgotten valley
where mighty matai stood
along the shining river
where I tarried…and found
the pure beating heart
of this … my land
A product of 'small town' New Zealand he ran away to sea at sixteen to spend ten years wandering a larger world, courtesy of NZ and Norwegian Merchant Navies. He intended taking Deck Officers examinations, but a faster mode of travel to the next port appealed and he gained a pilot’s licence in 1967.
Over thirty years, fifteen in Arabia, he flew Tiger Moths to wide-body airline jets as instructor, bush, corporate and airline pilot, before coming home to farm deer near Nelson. Places he's called home include Johannesburg, Jeddah, Port Moresby and Port of Spain. He now spends his days talking to animals for which he has an abiding affection, and indulging a long repressed urge to write.
Deerkeeper is an epic read, a saga which sweeps through three generations. It encapsulates the pioneering spirit: the hardships, blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice of taming a wild land. Currently living on the West Coast I had an affinity with the historical landmarks, picturesque scenery, and a familiarity with the culture surrounding the olden days.
Powerful writing throughout riled up my sense of fair play by the heartless corporations, brought forth sniffles for the tragic loss of cherished ones, and the magnificence of the natural scenic wonders. If I didn’t already live here it would now be on my bucket list to visit.
Well worth the read.