There’s mist like a frost net stretched over the paddock.
The grain’s been cut and the baler has done its work.
Now it’s time to set the paddock alight. Smoke
drifts across the motorway. As usual we’re praying for rain.
Did you know that in Roman times there was a big
square opening in the roof of a villa urbana?
There were little spouts all around the edge of it.
When it rained, the effect was of a waterfall pouring
down inside your house. Pliny the Younger
described something like this in one of the love-letters
he wrote to his beautiful new young wife
(the old one had died). He described the drainage holes
in the floor as well and the compluvium, the underground water
storage tank. You’d have to presume she was interested
Note: In 2003, John and I shifted from Christchurch, our home for 23 years, and moved 50 kilometers north to a tiny “hobbit-house” at Amberley Beach. Just three minutes walk to the wide sweep of Pegasus Bay. Our portion of sea is not all that safe; you’re best to swim only at low tide. Inland, the Waipara vineyards stretch towards high country farmland beyond which are the Southern Alps. My recent work explores this rural, beachy space. In 2011 Christchurch suffered a series of major earthquakes. Tragically, 185 people died. The inner city was devastated. I’m noticing the theme of domus (Latin: home) in much of my new work.