all our directions home

the taonga are placed on the sand.
taiaha stand quivering in the wind

speaking to the rōpū of sand-diggers,
fire-lighters, early morning risers.

the people of this place mix easily
with us manuhiri, come to watch.

the greenstone mere smashes
the seashell in half: a clean break

between where we’ve come from
and where we are now, understood.

we talk on the wind—impatience,
the ragged wave, sinks into the sand.

we listen to a story of seabirds,
how in the evening, their bellies full

they’ll spiral upwards on the wind.
when high enough, the leading birds

cry out and begin to fly straight
in the direction of their island home.

the birds on the sea, watching this,
lift off and follow

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa —friends 

you who first rise up on the wind

to see which way for us, we promise 

to follow. call out loud from above 
and we in our numbers will fly!

the tide turns, we gather the taonga,
put them in the boot of the car

and drive to the whare, where we eat
together quietly—before one-by-one

we rise to the heights and speak
of all our directions home.

Published in ‘a fine line’, magazine of the NZ Poetry Society, May 2014.



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