Saturday, September 4, 2010

Rain by Hone Tuwhare


I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
should not hear
smell or feel or see

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me

Hone Tuwhare 1922-2008 

Hone Tuwhare, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated poets, was born in Northland, in the Hokianga, in 1922.
At age seventeen Tuwhare went to work at the railway workshops as a boilermaker. He became a fully certified boilermaker and a member of the union, where he was recruited into the Communist party. When the Russians invaded Hungary in 1956, he gave up his membership of that party.

Tuwhare wrote his first poem when he heard that his father had died. He was already 42 years old when he published his first book, No Ordinary Sun, in 1964 - the first collection of poetry to ever be published by a Maori poet. The title poem makes clear his feelings about the effects of nuclear testing in the Pacific

Tuwhare’s work has been called a mixture of working class language, the bible and Maori korero (narratives), ‘as if you are in church and in the pub at the same time.’

In 1999 Hone Tuwhare was named New Zealand's poet laureate.  He was a great poet, a warrior, a taonga.

See the obituary published by

Miniature book by Dave Wood

1 comment:

  1. thank you. beautiful poem. i will look up more by Hone Tuwhare. :]


It's great when you leave a note!