Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Matariki, by Kiri Piahana-Wong


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.


Ben Hur said...

Very appropriate and also a beautiful poem.

Michelle Elvy said...

really like the rich images in this poem. There's a depth to it that I admire -- an emptiness and a fullness at once. Wonderful. I love the woman with no moon, the tears spiraling down the arms, the words sinking like stones, the hard ground, the footprints with no trace... such meaning in those images.

carmilevy said...

The overarching theme of loneliness is beautifully woven here. The tone is so thoughtfully rich...I can almost visualize the journey.

Thought I'd pop in and say hi. I've been a blog-stranger for too long.