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Collected Poems

The Ends of Man

The Ends of Man

The Auckland Metropolitan Drainage Engineer gave it as his opinion that one might almost think that Providence had provided Brown's Island specially for the purposes of the drainage scheme.

When Brown's at first, by Heaven's command, arose
From out the Waitemata's azure main,
It was no accident, as fools suppose:
No one in Heaven received a 'Please Explain';
The whole thing was ordained in Heaven's plan
To serve, quite literally, the ends of man.

It may seem strange to you, who know no history,
That Providence should blue-print such a scheme;
Perhaps you think the whole thing is a mystery?
Then, brother, let me wake you from your dream:
Of all the world's vast areas of dry land,
Heaven, it seems, has commandeered Brown's Island.

Now let me ask this question: Who was Brown?
Does he deserve this cruel, astringent fame?
page 165 What has he done, that the whole flaming town
Should build this monument to bear his name?
And can it be said that they must make this votive
Offering with some posterior motive?

I do not question Heaven — its smile or frown—
But can't help feeling sad for poor old Brown.