Poetry

Witches’ brew

Poisonous hurt, fiery anger
and painful embarrassment,
she mixed them all

each word she spoke
was like air over burning coals
making the pot boil

each new sentence stirred
the potion, each accusation
fiendishly devised

she plunged her word cup deep
presented it to him full
and overflowing

he drank of her words
but they had no effect,
his indifference was a spell
he’d already cast to protect him.

Standard
Poetry

Kupe

Moana! It’s me…
I’ve run from Hine-nui-te-pō
to hear the waves break in the twilight morning
and see once more the waka pulled up high
on the beach, their tauihu standing
like warriors, proud amongst the gulls
and scuttling crabs.

I dig in the sand,
two lengths from the great pohutukawa,
until my lonely hands touch what we buried:
the waka huia I carved
with our bodies entwined on every side,
mouths open, tongues hungry.

The edges of the box
have softened over time, but the embers
we placed inside still glow, which we can use
to light again a fire in the dunes
that will burn like the one Ranginui
and Papatūānuku lit in the beginning.

Standard
Poetry

Awakening

Born in silence, a murmur grew,
just faintly heard, until it came

to where I lay, wakening my sleep;
touching me, like never before.

The voice was soft and insistent,
dutifully kind and sincere in praise

for what I had not yet done—Love
it must have been, miraculously

coaxed to life in a world of dying,
and now grown to fill multitudes.

I won’t see in you this spirit come,
only know I’m up and feel quite new.

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Poetry

A memory

your summer dress I remember:
orange, green, a touch of turquoise

was it?

how it clashed so madly
with the dull buildings

dulled by a sky-full
of grey clouds

pressing inappropriately
around you

and your smile—dashed off
as you ran past in the light rain

bright as the sound
tyres make
on a smooth wet road.

Standard
Poetry

I would love an apple orchard

I would love an apple orchard,
with goats kept at bay by a fence,
with pigs, snout-ringed, allowed
to sample the windfall fruit

only, not my perfect darlings,
hanging ripe from heavy, drooping
branches, waiting for a hand
to appreciate them, like I surely

would, if an orchard were mine―
but I’m old, and it’s too late now
to plant stake-bound saplings in land
I do not even have a lease to own.

So, there’ll be no late evening
dalliance with the fruit of Eves,
just apples enough from one tree
planted, wisely, many years ago.

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