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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 James K Baxter's Dunedin Calvanistic World 1993 - 94

Homage to Baxter, Resonance XXVI - Robert Burns Statue, Octagon, Dunedin - 2013

Resonance XXVI

Robert Burns the poet features in Baxter's muse, but finding the right angle to relate the statue of Burns in the Octagon to a broader context within Baxter's work took some years and it was not until a trip to Dunedin in 2012 that I saw the juxtaposition of Burns and the two authoritarian towers of St Pauls Cathedral either side. Then, by precisely moving the camera viewpoint, the tiny cross appeared to rise from Burn's head, and at that point the visual elements unified.

Map of Brighton indicating where the image Resonance XXV as taken from

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James K Baxter: Poem references

Reflections on a Varsity Career Hocken MS975/26 (1956)

Peculiar things were done and seen
In the Robert Burns and the Bowling Green
God did not choose to intervene
In the early, early days


To My Farther (1947)
You, showing me the ferns that grow from frost;
You, quoting Burns and Byron while I listened;
You, breaking quartz until the mica glistened.


Letter to Robert Burns (1963)
King Robert, on your anvil stone
Above the lumbering Octagon,
To you I raise a brother's horn
Led by the wandering unicorn
Of total insecurity.
Never let your dead eye look
Up from Highland Mary's book
To the fat scrag-end of the Varsity. ....

Robert, only a heart I bring,
No gold of words to grace a king,
Nor can a stranger lift that flail
That cracked the wall of Calvin's jail ....

King Robert with the horn of stone!
Perhaps your handcuffs were my own;


A Small Ode to Mixed Flatting (1967)
But Robert Burns, that sad old rip
From whom I got my Fellowship
Will grunt upon his rain-washed Stone
Above the empty Octagon