Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Two signals from a wrecked star


In 1863 the troopship Orpheus foundered on a taniwha-shaped sandbar. Pressganged soldiers swam ashore, hid in the Waitakeres, on Fenian farms, at mill camps, using new names, rising from the dead. Others found refuge in the earth. In 1974 commemorators formed an honour guard along the bush track to Cornwallis' Orpheus cemetery. The dead refused to rise and march.
Light from a dead star can reach distant worlds. The Orpheus sank in 1863, but its relics - booms, boards, soldiers' buttons, bones - keep landing on Auckland's western shores. In 1976 Bill Barr posed with the iron bolts that had found him through Whatipu's surf. They were burdens. They pulled him deeper.

3 Comments:

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