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)

your hair is black and bright
for moons living in rock pools
birds that carry forests in their
bellies settle for the dusk behind your hands
the festival ends in your sleep
little coastal village sweats
on the copra field
while your brothers are working
to keep the sun at bay
we meet by the lagoon where
the teeth of sharks glitter
as the peka tells tales to her children
you show me how to hold evenings at
the mouth of day
so spread out on the sugarcane
our secret is sweet and lost
please do not show this dolphin I
carved out of pearl
for the pearl is sacred only to priest and chief
I am a commoner and death is simple


John Pule

Last updated 25 September, 2005