Deconstructing the ‘Rainbow Warrior’

C.K. Stead

In my game (and yours, reader) it was always the Frogmen
had the clever theories. We did the dirty work

using the English language like a roguish trowel.
Tonight, two rubberised heads have set their Zodiac on course

from Okahu Bay. Past the container port,
around Marsden Wharf, they’re ferrying a transitive verb

called Bomb. In a hired campervan a man and a woman
smoke, check their watches, and bicker.

Turenges don’t make it right, and anyway
the names are false, like their Swiss passports.

Half of Auckland, Dominique argues, has taken their number.
She’s exaggerating, of course. He refuses to panic.

A beautiful night. You can see the lighthouse light
on off Rangitoto, and an undercover moon

casual among clouds over North Head. Here come
the rubber boys back in their puttering Zodiac.

Remember, reader, poems don’t deal in fact.
This is all a bad dream in the Elysée Palace.

Now scatter – it goes like the Paris Metro, according to plan.
Soon you will hear explosions. Someone will die.

More than a ship will founder – and the theory? Ah the theory!
Dig a hole for it with your English trowels.