Dansey’s Pass Pub for sale


The ODT reports  that the Dansey’s Pass hotel is on the market.

The hotel is a few kilometres from Naseby. It was built in 1862, and is one of the few old coach inns which remain.

We celebrated a 50th birthday there last year and can recommend the comfort of the bed and the standard of the food.

The pass is the border between North and Central Otago. It’s a scenic drive through tussock covered hills but the road is unsealed, narrow with lots of twists and turns so not recommended for inexperienced drivers or passengers who get car sick.

Whitestone Cheese named a farmhouse style cheese  after it.

It’s also the subject of an Owen Marshall poem, from Occasional, published by Hazard Press.

                           – Dansey’s Pass –

Walk the wind arch of this burnished place.

Leave the gravel road behind like childhood.

Tussock flayed by austere Waitaki winds

is harsh, archaic and blown quite clean.

Here nature still defies all subjugation

and I rejoice in blissful arrogance

standing solitary upon the lion’s back.


– Owen Marshall –



Owen Marshall is the master of the short story. His gift for economy of word and phrase works well in poems too.

Today’s contribution to poetry month is Marsha’lls Ingratitude  one of 50 poems in his book Occasional, published by Hazard Press, 2004.



I hesitate to look the gift horse of existence in

the mouth, aware of all who have sack shuffled

into perpetual darkness, paid the ferryman his

coin, and those ova and spermatozoa impatiently

queuing on the chancy waiting list for the golden


interlude of life: that great oncer. Yet now I’m

old enough to have been around the traps, seen

the unheroic flipsides of this world’s flats, I

hear an inner voice, Oliver’s sad twin, which asks

not is there any more, but is there something else?


                 – Owen Marshall –

Even Words Grow Old


Today’s contribution to poetry month is Owen Marshall’s Even Words Grow Old from Occasional, published by Hazard Press, 2004.


Even words grow old


Even words grow old, finally over the hill

hearts grown cold though husks there still.

Piquant vocabulary becomes as a museum’s

buttoned shoes. Idioms rattle in the text

shrivelled in their shells, and prejudice

of an age lies exposed in bare expression.


Smiles of grammatical exactitude tighten

to a pedant’s rictus. Even words grow

old, no matter how resolute the will, and

meanings fade as the subtle colours of

the dying salmon. thus convulsive mutation

and slower evolution gather their ambiguity


and blunt that first magnificent precision

so kids can only mouth at Shakespeare and

olde Chaucer. Simulacra abound, amiable

dissembling appearance, yet meaning warped

or meanings true but faces hard to recognise

as cracked, dim frescos of Etruscan beauty.


Imprisoned on the page, even words grow old

sentenced to repetition and static senility

flashes of wonder and fleeting comprehension

from all points of the compass, but no one

direction. Strange things lie buried: bog

corpses of language of which we lack memory.


So writing’s fabric wears thin, and dresses

of the past no longer cover our modern hips.

Persian sages gave their dingle, immutable

injunction, and paradox, This Too Will Pass.

Even words grow old- but spawn afresh, thank God

bright, nervous fingerlings, perfectly attuned.


             – Owen Marshall –

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