Genius Loci

by Piet Nieuwland

On this human scale coast

Measured in femtoparsecs or feet

With a discourse of swallows, a startle of crows

And a Rauparaha’s copper butterfly perched

On your hat

Enough rocky covelets for personal shelter

From a German couple on one side, French family on the other

And surfers up the beach

A slow migration of yachts head North with furling genoas,

Or South with asymmetric kites

Not needing to seek shelter

From the prospect of tropospheric gravity waves

Saturated with maritime substances

The submerged archaeology of air

A heavenly alchemy, an infinitely mirrored room

The souls of millions

Light years away


1 metre is equal to 0.032407792700054 femtoparsec


[Piet Nieuwland wrote conservation strategies for Te Papa Atawhai in Northland, New Zealand after training as a forester. His poems and flash fiction appear in many places including Landfall, Brief, Catalyst and Poetry NZ in New Zealand; Pure Slush, Otoliths, Cordite and Mattoid in Australia; Blue Fifth Review, Mojave River Review and Atlanta Review in the USA and elsewhere. He edits Fast Fibres Poetry and reviews poetry for Landfall.]