new zealand electronic poetry centre

John Puhiatau Pule

online works

From ‘Thirty Songs of Love and Life by the Nineteenth-Century Poet Tomai, of Liku’
in The Shark That Ate the Sun (Penguin, 1992)

while our people are fighting over
who owns the crabs in the burial caves
let us go down to the plantation
and spread out mats on the lush field
it is hot and the waves come close
to our feet to enhance the moving
move closer you say while
the fragrance of umu comes our way
I do this act for windy is the world
when canoes chance the swells in daylight
you crush a loku when you move
your legs to allow me to eat
the flesh, it is salty
do you think they will decide who
will eat the crabs tonight
I don’t care, look at the sky
while I find the dawn in the earth
your eyes close and birds fly
out to fishermen on the reef
and they never come back until
the mats are dry


John Pule

Last updated 25 September, 2005