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)

Once again I meet the missionary’s wife, this time in
the bush where the peka live in great abundance. I am here
to hunt them for the feast tonight; the white woman
was invited but has come early to see the preparations.
She lifts her dress up to her face and with two fingers plays
with her sex which is waiting for rain or a bird to sing.
I watch as I have never seen fingers dance, moist, the sea.
I kneel down and the lizard that lives in my mouth today is
          strangely mad, and parts her lips wide till the insides
          are a river and trees
sway at my mouth. She is crying like a henga caught in
a sack of wheat, she is on the ground, and I am deep, so
          deep I hear her voice in my hands.
I turn her around to face my village, blow away the leaves
on her arse, and watch my penis saturated in forest wine,
hard at the carver’s sweat. She is so hot I am slow, so to
the lava that might die too soon. The world does not exist
all I hear is my insides burning, burning, she says.
She takes my penis into her bruised lips, I am far away and
          find an
anchor on her hair raining over my hands.
I pull away and find the earth, and this time a storm
our bodies that fall like lightning. I kiss her awake.
What is watching us in the caves flies out with a crab in its
She takes the road to Liku. I take the path to Tafata and
the men carry the roast to Liku.


John Pule

Last updated 25 September, 2005