Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Matariki, by Kiri Piahana-Wong

Matariki

It is winter and the new year
opens its arms before me

The moon is gone
The sun has fled

I am bathed in darkness
A woman with no moon

I wander the land alone
My blood quiescent, stilled

In the darkness my words sink
like stones
Spiral into the deep

The ground is hard
My footprints leave no trace
I am witnessing the sky's
rebirthing, in the dark of the moon

His dance with the depleted earth
Her bones pressing
against the curve of the bay
Longing for the sky

I walk as if my passing matters
I walk as a witness
I let my tears fall
spiral down my arms
fall from the ends of my fingers
Anoint the earth
with the salt of the sky

And I think of the words
of my tupuna -

Tukua mai he kapu nga
oneone ki a au hai tangi


Send me a hadnful of earth
that I may weep over it

- Kiri Piahana-Wong

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises just once a year, in mid-winter – late May or early June. For many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year.
Matariki celebrations start with the first new moon after the first sighting of the Pleiades - this year, on 22 June.

I posted a poem by Kiri Piahana-Wong a few weeks ago, but I saved this one for this week, as it seemed the most appropriate time to post it. Thanks to Kiri for permission to post her poems. Her book, Night Swimming, is available from the publishers, Anahera Press.

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Inland, by Edna St Vincent Millay

Inland

People that build their houses inland,
People that buy a plot of ground
Shaped like a house, and build a house there,
Far from the sea-board, far from the sound

Of water sucking the hollow ledges,
Tons of water striking the shore,--
What do they long for, as I long for
One salt smell of the sea once more?

People the waves have not awakened,
Spanking the boats at the harbour's head,
What do they long for, as I long for,--
Starting up in my inland bed,

Beating the narrow walls, and finding
Neither a window nor a door,
Screaming to God for death by drowning,--
One salt taste of the sea once more?

- Edna St Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

Lately we have been house hunting - so when this poem showed up in my inbox (via the daily poem e-mail from the Academy of American Poets), it seemed like a perfect choice for my Tuesday Poem this week.

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, Maine. She produced a large body of writing, including some of the best-known sonnets of the twentieth century, while pursuing a Bohemian lifestyle in New York City's Greenwich Village.

This week's poem at the Tuesday Poem hub is by Sam Rasnake. Also check out the sidebar there for posts from other members of the Tuesday Poem community.