Goodbye to Father — Episode Nine, Res Publica, Live on Radio NZ

Res Publica, read by Stuart Devenie, on Radio New Zealand

Res Publica, read by Stuart Devenie, on Radio New Zealand Nine-to-Noon

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You can read notes on the previous episode here.

In this Episode Nine, Arcady has received the $500,000 investment from his wife’s accountant and is ready to set sail to his island. The night before he departs, he decides to visit his (adopted) parents’ house on Auckland’s North Shore.

He recalls how he drove his Jaguar to the house and parked across the street. He recalls how, since the time he learned of his adoption, he’d only seen his parents once — sitting in a food court at Westfield Mall. This memory of the food court’s granite tabletops conjures another memory, a more recent memory, of a tombstone in a graveyard.

Suddenly his father emerges from the house. It begins to rain. Arcady drives away. He wonders whether or not his father ever saw him there, sitting in the car.

Episode Nine ends with Arcady’s new housemate, his voluptuous Muse, commenting on the memory, and insisting Arcady finish the episode before they can make love. He abruptly does so, choosing lovemaking over storytelling.

Episode Ten, in which Arcady sails to his island, will be broadcast tomorrow at 10:45am, Radio NZ “Nine-to-Noon”.

A note about the stanza form:

The verse is now structured in 14-line stanzas, with a rhyme scheme of abbaccdedeffgg. Some lines, of course — even entire stanzas here and there — were cut or altered to fit the audio segments.

An example of a stanza from Episode Nine:

How frail we are! How tender
is the human! Each of us
a pod of dreams we can’t discuss;
yet must, with death, these seeds surrender!
I often wonder, do they breed,
these planted dreams, in those who read
the chiseled name and numbered measure
of a life, or kneel and softly touch
the headstone’s polished granite edge, or
finding sorrow’s weight too much,
collapse upon the muddy grass
while maples shake in windy blasts
and mangrove swamp, a corpse unsheeted,
feels the chill of tides receded…

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