Kia ora koutou, yesterday morning I woke to a most beautiful frost on the ground, sunlight streaming over the Ruahine Mountains with clear sky and the quiet of the stilled wind. In celebration (and because of a request), I'm sharing a poem I wrote on 23 June.
I consider this to be a poem about climate change and personal responsibility. Please be aware, I have great respect for the lecturer referred to in this poem. He earns the respect of many, many people, over and over, by generously sharing the labour of his mind and his heart in humble and inclusive ways. I'm very grateful for the public presentation that sparked this poem.
Mosquitoes at Matariki
One day I slap a mozzie in the bedroom.
Next week, the hallway.
The Ministry taxi-woman who drives my son to school
agrees, oh, yes, and we have flies at home.
I tighten my lips on thoughts of summer crops, and,
which new diseases will be my fellow tauiwi?
Speaking of ancestral wisdom,
the lecturer connects knowledge cultures
east to west, pictographs of constellations,
north to south (some inversions required).
Patterns of moon cycles, star rise,
regional variations for landform, visibility.
The tohu of hangi at whaling time,
the cosmological truth of te reo
shaping breath through tinana.
Rāwiri Te Kōkau,
Time constraints mean,
no talk of old men debating late night after late night
ngā tohu, say, mists off the land,
Papa responding to Rangi.
Listen to their intercourse: when will the earth best welcome seed?
Safeguard ngā mātauranga,
safeguard ngā kai,
safeguard ngā tāngata.
I trace pictograms across my hands
as safety brackets:
he is reciting karakia
to ward off frosts.
I respect him.
I respect his words.
I went to school with do unto others,
wish peace upon the house you enter:
your wish might return.
Welcomed into whare wananga,
I trace reverberating patterns,
layers and layers beyond rebounds.
Return drive home,
mouth tight shut,
here is the whakatauākī of my kaiako.
That ngāngara buzzing in my own ear?
I’m not listening