Simon Williamson was born in 1968, in Ngaruawahia. Was a founding member of Poetrycorp in Wellington in the late '80's. Frequently published in literary magazines like JAAM and Takahe.
His Posthumous book, Storyteller: Poems 1988-1999, has recently been published by HeadworX Publishers. (click on Image to got to HeadworX).
It is a privilege to publish these works on BMP and we would like to thank Mark Pirie, Managing Editor of HeadworX - Doug Poole
The Laughing Owl
The Ruru goes out, her eyes scan the ground
an old Tuatara waits
its death pose still and deadly
where is the Laughing Owl
punctuating the bush
with its killer howl?
Where is the Laughing Owl
forcing the forest to listen
trembling in heartbeats and silence
where once was excited chatter of Tui or Kereru?
Where is the laughing Owl?
He was born in the hunter's spear
the bushman's rifle
the claw of the cat
the teeth of the rat...
Where is the Laughing Owl?
He is everywhere now.
Falling towards the sky
Into the hills we headed
we were not able to light fires
to keep the kehua at bay
and we could hear their dogs below howling like mad things
our hunters had blood on their minds
with no food only fern roots we travelled
leaving behind those who fell with fatigue
and those who ran porangi into the night
such vengeance from the north
our Tupuna will die with us
I have discarded my child in the undergrowth
disguising her sweet smell
and can only hope she will go swiftly
for mine is the way of the Moa
to be chased to the cliff top
and to tumble
over and over
it is the fall I fear more than death.
'it's alright boy if you fall towards the sun.'
I knew I had to make that leap
gathered two rangatahi
and waited in the undergrowth
while the others travelled ahead.
'Boys do not fear for you will die as Men.'
we slew four
they slew us all -
that is our story.
' Only thieves go thru the window.'
So they walked him in
thru the front door
the weight of his years
light like a child.
That was a hundred years ago.
Now only the old
remember what they were told
about the dead
entering like burglars.
But they knew
life is thieved from you
and to grow old is to give away
until you have no more
than when you were fresh from the womb.
So they marched him in
thru the front door
and ever since that is the way
the dead come to the ribs of their Tupuna
like a heart
the living must pass thru.
We strode like gods down the slope
over the stile
across the stones
to the swimming hole
the summer sun drove everyone
to that sanctuary
lying beneath the branches of the willow
those initiated into manhood shed their leather jackets
with fist on the back and dove from the rock face.
Forever they would fall
knees pulled into chests
an explosion of water rising into the air
re-emerging to the kids' cheers.
Where are they now?
Robert got his stomach pumped after swallowing petrol;
he was never the same.
Andrew got shot by a rival gang;
the same age as me.
It's deceptive those country roads
that merge with sunlight to create a mirage
where if you go too far you fall off the world
or so it seems.
I used to dream of those country roads
tongue and eyes ecstatic
barefoot in the mud
while the city team had boots...
Have I changed
become a townie?
I have lost the Reo
can only say ' Kia Ora, Kei te pehea?'
one day soon I will return
to see the smallness of things
where once everything was large.
It's true what you said, Kuia,
the river at every turn,there is a taniwha.