– Papanui, Christchurch

Normality Revisited

Normal changed for ever on that February day
The piercing scream from under a desk, her safe place
Mine, embracing a heaving wall that offered a strange stability
Experiences, noted catalysts for a new look at life.

Overwhelming need driving connection with family
Gridlocked cars, drivers like ghosts in limbo, fearful of the unexplained
Parents racing by on foot, innate need to protect their young
And cell phones so used, so overloaded, normal use aborted.

Soaked carpet, water seeping from culprit cylinder
Uninvited guest, driving rain, finding its way through cracked pane
Cracks snaking insidiously through concrete, plaster, brick and mortar
All minimised in significance, when funerals posted for those well known.

The city mutually loved through life, buildings, Injured, shell-shocked and some no longer, just empty hollows
Artistic depictions by family close, of former proud monuments
Drawings valued, a reminder of what once filled that space.

Red Zone, green stickered, CERA, all language evolving
Aftershocks jolt, irritating reminders to keep on alert
Planning time for trips with gridlock inevitable
People homeless, weary, portaloos, campervans in abundance.

Embracing opportunity they say is hope for the future
Community spirit, life learning for grandchildren
New life breathes through a city historic by forebears
Cantabrians plan their future, a unique moment in history.

Robyna Smith

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