The late Peter Wells, author, film-maker, best-dressed man in New Zealand letters.

Part three of CK Stead’s series of poems on Sunday

A sonnet for Peter Wells

At your last book-launch I said I hadn’t known

which of us would die first – and I still didn’t.

We joked about sad farewells, but when I said

an atheist’s last could not be ‘See you later’

I thought your brow darkened – so I’m not surprised

your obsequies today were Anglican

with ‘sure and certain hope’ of resurrection.

How could poor weak ‘hope’ be ‘sure and certain’?

but as your coffin ablaze with white blossom

was walked to the waiting hearse and trundled off

3 orcas entered the harbour, a trinity,

a Sign perhaps, Peter, and fond farewell

to one who as a boy had wanted a doll

and as a man found one, and married him.

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