Thursday, April 10, 2008

Forty Years On

Today is the fortieth anniversary of the Wahine disaster. The house where I grew up overlooked the harbour where this took place.

April 10th 1968

Every year we made the journey
stood on deck watching the wake
draw a thread between islands
north and south where grandparents, aunts
uncles and cousins mirrored each other like
left and right sides of a garment

Back home we watched the ferries pass
morning and evening as sure as
sunrise and tide fall,
tide rise and sunset
Maori, Rangatira, Wahine

That stormy day we watched the broken ship
drift onto rocks, list
the fleet of small craft weaving back and forth
trying to darn the hole in the harbour,
trying to stitch the ship to shore

5 comments:

January said...

This poem has a great rhythm. I can feel the past in every line.

Sorry I haven't visited your blog in so long. Your poems are wonderful.

Crafty Green Poet said...

nice extended metaphor in this, moving memorial to the event

chiefbiscuit said...

Great to see you posting again!
As usual, you tie your poem up with a fine end line. That must've been quite a memory for you. I guess there would be more than one poem come from witnessing such an event.

Floss said...

Hi! Fantastic imagery! I'm aiming to use your poem in class, as we're looking at New Zealand disasters next term.

chicklegirl said...

Fascinating to read the history of the disaster, and your poem is a lovely personal narrative with rich imagery.