Kia ora. All the poems are taken from my forth coming book of selected poems TOKU TINIHANGA, to be published early in 2003 by HeadworX. The long poem He Waiatanui kia Aroha, which is in TOKU TINIHANGA, will appear simultaneously on a CD put to music by Christchurch musician, Trevor Bycroft. In 1998 Michael received recognition for his work in both the Oxford History of New Zealand Literature and the Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature.
The Mind of My Lai Revisited (for David Mitchell)
So this is what happens to our poets Soft-shoe shuffling along Oriental Parade The internal massacre about complete As a handshake equals a kind of recognition
“David” I say, and then repeat my own name Over and over in an attempt to get through But your semi-toothless grin and grimace Tell me you are not here at all
Like a sad combination reminiscent of Groucho And Harpo without the humour, your spirit Seems to have deserted you - but I know Donna Awatere has become yr Remuera Hsfrau -
Achtung, Baby, Babi Yr an’ all!
p.s. the ships look beautiful as they glide . . .
Listening to a poet reading poetry Was the small flicker of flame Which lit this poem in my heart
When he, with another woman in mind, Mentioned a furcoat-wrapped woman Your image leapt at me, is now here to stay
I have carried you all day with me Through the hard-nosed life of a labouring man Your beauty is so strong that I weep inward
Yet, like your Master’s kingdom, Our love cannot be of this world You exist for me as He does for you
And your husband and your children Stand between us like trees against the horizon At the point of sundown and the rising darkness I see you
Three Paekakariki Fragments
as dusk darkened the surrounding hills looked like they were folding towards the beach the sky, thick-clouded, mirrored the choppy waves which quietly rolled onto the black sand and something alien caught my vision a large, black, pointed fin beyond the white breakers but near enough to the shore to hear me talking to it. Later, I told people that I took my pet shark for a walk tonight . . .
a large piece of driftwood, whose eyes followed us, pale, as we walked along the night-falling sand, was a seal so tired after surviving, and being chased through the deep, deep sea by a killer whale
moonlight shimmered brightly, dancing lightly on the nightdark water outside the cliff-descending train window between Muri and the taonga-filled memories of the historic, present-day Paekakariki Station the railway could be travelling through any exotic, romantic, love-enhanced landscape in the world . . . – and it is!
Excerpts from -
He Waiatanui kia Aroha
twilight falls among the large stone buildings grey monoliths – but undemanding to the modern eye as we walked towards the taxi I stopped and wanted to kiss you And you said maybe -then we did kiss holding our mouths together like beaks -but sweet, ambiguous even and I shuddered with emotion -my whole being shook -with the physical knowledge -of our parting . . .
twilight brings its gradual descent of the night on Seacliff and the sea and the clouds touch merge into one blue-grey hue . . . as with the sky and the land the trees turn ever darkening shades of green the last remaining residue of crimson is stretched, elongated diffuse across the horizon and these seen things are mirrored within as my thoughts of you are repeated over and over ever changing ever increasing with the days the same subtle blend as landscape of colours and shapes sometimes clearly defined sometimes barely discernible and sometimes the darkness is complete
the light beyond the horizon is te Marama who, when she shines touches the silent, sleeping soul of the earth it is this unseen world alive with the light of the unknown where my love for you lies waiting - beyond those tall trees that rising darkness and sensuous sundown of strange, stark colours te po, te po, te po aroha the moonlight world of our understanding the Polynesian darkness of light . . .
a picture of you looks up, smiling and connects me to the world of feelings the deep questions of life and love and eternity which have had their evocation so often through you you are my point of contact with life, yet you are so distant and yet again that distance is broken as the fine fibre of love you weave around me tightens – it is the dynamics of something set in motion rather than necessarily an act of consciousness -the earth is sleeping dreams are walking around, entering each heart, each body – each soul is enchanted either by dreams or nightmares haunting the darkness with ever greater darkness te ua, te ua, nga roimata ahau te haunui o te wairua te ariki o te ao and in the beginning was the word . . .
wrapped in a blanket I sit and listen to the wind blow hard out along the coast whipping up the water scraping and shaping the land – sending chunks of sure cliffs crashing to the sea below . . . cold wind was always the worst to work in sapping energy from my body even before the first shovel-load had been lifted from the earth taurite nga moehewa o Aroha . . . but now the wind has dropped perhaps it will wait – then picking up my words Te Hau will carry them soaring southwards over the dark hills taking them gently kia Aroha, down the valley where they will reach you as a whisper . . .