Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Wednesday Poem

Kapiti
by Alistair Te Ariki Campbell


Kapiti - An island near Cook Strait, New Zealand, 
once the stronghold of Māori chieftain Te Rauparaha (1770 - 1849)




                  
                    This island is alive with ghosts,
                    Tonight every leaf is an ear
                    attuned to your heartbeat,
                    every stick a spear
                    gripped by a crouching figure...
                    Their eyes glint
                    on the moonlit hillsides,
                    and their oiled bodies
                    bending towards you in their hundreds
                    gleam like flax...
                    Listen!
                    What is that sound
                    like the sound of waves on rocks?
                    But there is no wind -
                    even the sea is asleep.
                    Listen!
                    The sea begins to wake in its wide bed
                    and whispers of war.
                    A thousand paddles shatter
                    the drowning moon,
                    a bridge of war canoes spans the troubled sea
                    between Kapiti and the mainland...
                    It is no use

                    Numbers cannot save you.
                    Nothing can save you now
                    but your swift paddles.
                    Te Rauparaha is a god
                    and Kapiti is his backbone.
                    Even the moon is his ally.




Photo by Peter Sundstrom, painting from here

9 comments:

  1. Very, very powerful. The poem, the painting and the sky belong together. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's great, isn't it?

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  2. Oh my, the images your words bring forth are etched deeply within my thoughts. A powerful piece Alexia.

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  3. Oops, I forgot to mention how well it ties to the painting.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Karen. They're not my words, though - I wish I could write like that!

      :)

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  4. That is wonderful, Alexia.

    P..S. I like the Ruru, too!
    ~

    ReplyDelete

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