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Mythology of Place - Homage to James K Baxter - © 1993-94 - Lloyd Godman - Lawrence Jones - Mythology of Place - Book now available

Photographs of the Brighton Coastal Otago World of James K Baxter

Brighton Bay Dunedin, Lloyd Godman

this image is mapped, click on image section to enlarge - Full size image

Homage to Baxter  Resonance I - Panorama of Brighton Bay from Big Rock 1994



Resonance I

I knew we needed a special image of Brighton Bay, something that could encompass as many aspects of Baxter's poetic vision as possible. I also knew that if this image was to include a large swell with the right lighting, we could wait about two years to get it right. But we did not have to wait too long before this image was taken late one evening, there was less than half an hour before the sun sank below the horizon and it was one of those rare events when the swell was very large and yet still clean due to a light westerly wind that was blowing, the sky was bright and clear. It was the low angle of the sun that sent the light kissing obliquely across the face of the waves giving the shot a special quality. I saw this effect driving back to Brighton and had to race home to get my equipment, scramble down the bank and around the rocks to a spot I knew I could get this wide panorama. The problem was to secure the tripod on the crumbing rock and get a series of shots that highlighted the aspects that related to Baxter's work before the light vanished.

This image shows from left to right:
The flax covered rock bluff of Big Rock with Green Island on the horizon. Lion Rock in the centre of the bay and Barney's Island the last rock outcrop on the horizon extending from the right. Further towards the right is the Domain, the bridge, the area where the river cuts the sand banks as it meets the sea, the glass fronted houses and the beach. On the far right is more of the rock bluffs of Big Rock.

Map of Brighton Bay indicating where the image Resonance I was taken from

Map of Brighton Bay indicating where the image Resonance I was taken from

enlarge map

James K Baxter - Poem references

At Brighton Bay   1966  CP

The opposites of sex and pain
Like new - cut banks the river had gouged out------

Today I hoisted myself
Up the rock stair that's called Jacob's Ladder

This end of the bay, shoving through gorse, and stood
On the smooth edge of the flax-covered cliff

Brighton 1955

Glass - fronted batches stand and look
on the brown hurdling waves


October Water Poem  1963

The wind that cuts the flax like a new pocket knife--------

In which the sea has taken charge of the land.
No one can tell us how to get on good terms with the great
Sea devil or wind of middle age.


Love - Lyric V  1944

Flowers of foam from undersea yeast risen.
that die at a brackish river mouth.

The Rock Woman

Continually, as a boy, I came to this
Rock ledge above the sinuous wave.

The Storm  1961

In the morning I climb the gale-thrashed ridges
of flax and rock, look down on the lumbering surf.



The dark swell's thunder
Below the crumbling rock----

where the green breakers rage
are shadows of old torment


Because the Flax Blades  1968

Because the flax blades bend above
the dark bay, this way and that